HHS Affirms LGBTQ Protections in Health Care
May 10, 2021
The Biden-Harris Administration announced today that, in line with the Supreme Court Bostock ruling and other court decisions, the Department of Health and Human Services interprets the nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sex in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In a press statement HHS affirmed that the Office for Civil Rights, the entity responsible for enforcing Section 1557, will investigate and act on reports of anti-LGBTQ discrimination by covered entities.
GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu issued the following statement:
We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for its affirmation that access to health care without discrimination is a matter of equity and fairness and is critical to individual wellbeing. We hear frequently from LGBTQ people reporting discrimination they experience in healthcare settings and programs, including insurance coverage, and we know that such discrimination leads to negative health outcomes in our community. It is welcome news that the Office of Civil Rights will enforce the law to address anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The administration’s announcement today conforms to both the language of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and established case law. The degree to which people can count on their ability to access healthcare free from discrimination should not depend on who is in the White House. Congress should take inspiration from today’s announcement to act on its responsibility to solidify critical nondiscrimination protections in healthcare and other vital areas by passing the Equality Act.
LGBTQ people in New England who have questions about what this announcement means, or who experience discrimination in accessing healthcare are encouraged to reach out to GLAD at www.GLADAnswers.org.