Trump administration to roll back healthcare protections for transgender people

‘This rule will promote ignorance and hate that no American should have to face,’ says campaigner

Zamira Rahim
Friday 24 May 2019 17:25
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The Trump administration is hoping to reverse sex discrimination rules which protect transgender patients seeking healthcare.

A new rule, proposed by the Health and Human Services Department, states that laws banning sex discrimination in healthcare will not apply to “gender identity.”

LGBT rights groups say the long-expected announcement could lead to transgender people being denied medical care.

The proposal would reverse a policy brought in by the Obama administration, which found that sex discrimination laws did protect the transgender community.

Under the Obama-era policy, hospitals could be required to perform gender transition procedures such as hysterectomies.

“Predicated on little more than prejudice, this proposal will abandon two million Americans who already face significant barriers to accessing adequate and life-saving healthcare,” said Maria Keisling, executive director at the National Centre for Transgender Equality.

“This is not about free healthcare or special treatment. It’s about the right of every American to be treated with dignity when they walk into an emergency room, meet a new doctor, or find the right insurance plan.

“If permitted, this rule will promote ignorance and hate that no American should have to face while seeking care.”

A 60-day comment period is expected before the new policy is finalised.

The Trump administration has introduced two other policies which have angered LGBT rights groups this week alone.

One rule, which will come into effect from July, will protect healthcare workers who refuse to perform medical procedures that violate their “conscience”.

Campaigners fear gay and transgender people could be affected, as well as people seeking abortions or sterilisation.

“The rule allows a very wide range of people – from the receptionist to the boards of hospitals and everyone in between – to deny a patient’s medical care if their personal beliefs get in the way,” Fatima Goss Graves, the president of the National Women’s Law Centre, said earlier this month.

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A second proposed policy, which has not been finalised, could allow homeless shelters to turn transgender people away.

The president’s ban on transgender people serving in the military also came into effect last month, putting around 14,700 jobs at risk.

Additional reporting by agencies

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