Section 1557 is the key nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It prohibits discrimination in health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, health programs and activities administered by the executive branch, as well as entities created under the ACA, including the Marketplaces and health plans sold through the Marketplaces. Section 1557 protects against discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin (including language access), sex, age, and disability, and does so by building on existing civil rights laws. It is the first federal law to ban sex discrimination in health care.
Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) underwent an extensive, 6-year process to develop regulations for enforcing Section 1557. The Final Rule that it issued in 2016 provides that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, childbirth or related medical conditions, sex stereotyping and gender identity. This was a major victory for LGBTQ people.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration is trying to roll back this victory by replacing the 2016 rule with a new one that would take away the explicit protections for our community. NCLR submitted comments opposing this harmful policy change.