HHS Official: Discrimination Against Transgender People Is Illegal Under Obamacare

In response to a letter from a coalition of LGBT groups, the Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that discrimination against transgender people by federal health care programs and programs funded with federal dollars is illegal under the Affordable Care Act. Leon Rodriguez — the director of HHS’s civil rights office — responded to LGBT advocacy organizations’ concerns that Obamacare’s anti-discrimination Section 1557 did not clarify whether or not it included transgender people in its protections. In the letter, Rodriguez deems discrimination based on “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” in ACA-related programs illegal. Before the passage of Obamacare, for example, a transgender woman was denied coverage for routine treatment for a deviated septum because of her “condition.” Thankfully, the HHS has clarified that under Obamacare, this practice would now be forbidden.

Steven Perlberg

(HT: Buzzfeed)