Tuesday, January 11, 2022
A Biden administration proposal to stop qualified health insurance plans from discriminating against gay and transgender people is the latest regulatory step in an ongoing fight over enacting broader health-care protections for LGBTQ people.
A batch of legal challenges is already in play, including two court orders that could block the Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing a more sweeping rule against certain medical providers before it’s even been formally proposed.
In the more expansive proposed rule, due in April, the HHS is expected to ban health-care providers and health programs that receive federal funding from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
It’s the latest version of a rule that has ping-ponged back and forth in scope from one administration to another and been subject to several legal challenges since the Obama administration first expanded the definition of “sex” under the ACA in 2016 to include gender identity, sex stereotypes, and termination of a pregnancy.
The Trump administration issued a rule of its own in 2020 erasing those protections, but several of those changes were blocked by federal courts, and the protections for transgender people were reinstated.
The Biden administration’s interpretation has prompted legal action even though the formal rule proposal is months away.