Reversing a Trump policy, the Biden White House is restoring transgender health protections

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the policy change aligns with language in the Affordable Care Act.

Gay and transgender people will be shielded from sex discrimination in health care, a top White House health official said Monday, reversing a controversial Trump-era policy.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said language in the Affordable Care Act guarantees protections against sexual discrimination in health care. The Trump administration had defined “sex” to mean gender assigned at birth, arguing those legal protections didn’t apply to transgender people.

“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement posted on the agency’s website. “Everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

Becerra added that the Biden White House policy will ensure that health care protections fall in line with last year’s pivotal Supreme Court ruling that federal laws protect gay and transgender people from sex discrimination on the job.

“Every American deserves access to health care,” Out & Equal Workplace Advocates CEO Erin Uritus said in an emailed statement. “It was especially cruel for President Trump to roll back health protections for LGBTQ individuals one year ago in the midst of a pandemic.”


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