The previous administration took several actions to reduce the LGBTQ community’s rights. The current administration has taken several steps to reverse those decisions and return rights to equality that were taken away. The latest change came earlier this month and concerns health care.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act outlawed health care discrimination. It made clear discriminating against someone based on “race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability” was not acceptable.
As with many laws, people look for ways to interpret words to suit themselves and their goals. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided to define “sex” to mean only male or female. Thus they gave the go-ahead for insurers and health care providers to refuse essential treatments to many members of the LGBTQ community.
Health care providers cannot discriminate against LGBTQ people
Now, the HHS has announced they will undo that change. They have pledged to act when someone faces health care discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity. They have clarified that their interpretation of “sex” is more inclusive and covers gender identification and sexual orientation.
It does not necessarily mean that you will no longer face health care discrimination as an LGBTQ person. Old attitudes and beliefs die hard at times. While there has been a progression toward a more inclusive society, not everyone wants that progress.
It may still be necessary to take legal action to defend your rights as an LGBTQ individual. What this new announcement does is to provide a more robust legal basis from which to do so. As the new Health Secretary said when making the announcement, “It simply says what everyone already should know: You should not discriminate against people.”