Protective measures put in place to ensure people are not denied medical treatment based on their gender identity or sexual orientation will likely be eliminated by the Trump administration, The Hill reports.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement Friday that the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination will be based on "the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."
Some lawmakers and advocates fear the policy change will make it harder for LGBTQ patients to receive care or coverage, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
"At a time when protecting communities from the COVID-19 pandemic is paramount, your Department and the Trump Administration are knowingly putting the health and wellbeing of vulnerable individuals and children at risk, while blatantly promoting discrimination against LGBTQIA+ communities and religious minorities by pursuing the finalization of this proposed rule," Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. and Patty Murray, D-Wash., wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
During the Obama-era, a measure was put into place making it illegal for a doctor, hospital or insurance company to deny care to a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Obama administration expanded the health law's definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity for the first time. The rule was blocked by a federal judge in 2016.
The Trump administration is now repealing those measures, citing the judge's legal opinion.
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