BREAKING: Biden Administration Moves to Restore Anti-Discrimination Protections in Health Care
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Biden administration took action to strengthen regulations implementing the Health Care Rights Law, otherwise known as Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex including pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sex stereotyping.
In June 2020, the Trump administration issued a final rule undermining these protections, targeting women, transgender individuals, Indigenous, Black, and Latinx people, and anyone seeking abortion care. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed a lawsuit challenging this rule in July 2020, along with the Harvard Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Transgender Law Center, and the law firm Hogan Lovells.
Protections against discriminatory health care are especially critical following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed decades of precedent recognizing the constitutional right to abortion. This ruling has exacerbated the wide range of dangerous discriminatory treatment by health care providers directed towards women, trans, and nonbinary people capable of pregnancy. These strengthened regulations are one way to protect communities at risk following Dobbs, particularly Black and Indigenous people who experience higher rates of discriminatory health care.
The following is a statement by Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of NWLC:
“Discrimination should never dictate the care a patient receives. We applaud Secretary Becerra and the Biden administration in their effort to to undo the harm of the Trump administration’s rule that greenlit discrimination in health care. As politicians take care away from people including those seeking abortion and other reproductive health care and those seeking gender affirming care, it’s more important than ever to ensure that care is available without harmful barriers. This proposed rule is a critical piece of the effort to end discrimination in health care, but there’s much more to do – and we’ll lend our voices to ensure the rule builds a system where everyone has access to safe, accessible, and inclusive health care.”