Trump Administration Approves Rule That Sanctions Discrimination in Health Care

(BOSTON, MA) – Community Catalyst today strongly condemned the Trump administration’s new federal rule that undermines enforcement of the Health Care Rights law, the civil rights provision of the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557) that is designed to protect patients from discrimination in health care. By weakening interpretation and enforcement of the Health Care Rights Law, this rule could embolden health care providers and insurers to discriminate against people by denying them access to needed health care and information. It undercuts critical protections for LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, women, non-English speakers and others who routinely face discrimination when seeking care. The rule is particularly harmful for transgender and gender-diverse people, who already face unjust and discriminatory barriers to care, by making it harder for them to get all forms of the health care they need – from physicals and x-rays to cancer screenings and gender-affirming care. It also undermines protections that ban discriminatory insurer marketing practices and benefit designs that endanger people who need medical attention the most – people with disabilities and people living with chronic illnesses like HIV.

Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to the new federal rule:

“It is unconscionable that the Trump administration is undermining essential non-discrimination protections of the ACA. No one should ever be denied quality health care because of who they are, but the Trump administration’s rule is designed to allow for just that. This rule is intended to make it permissible for to discriminate against the very people who have experienced the greatest inequities in access to health care, particularly LGBTQ+ people, non-English speaking immigrants, women, people with disabilities and people with HIV. Unfortunately, this rule is yet another step in the administration’s long line of actions to sanction discrimination in health care. Promoting discriminatory policies that prevent people from getting the care they need is divisive and wrong at any time, but it’s especially harmful as our nation confronts the urgent public health and economic crisis we face right now.

We urge states, providers, hospitals and insurance companies to commit to equity and to make it clear they will reject discrimination and protect all patients’ lives and health. And we call on the administration to recall this rule and focus their efforts on expanding all people’s access to care.”

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About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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