The Trump administration’s campaign to make life more difficult for transgender Americans entered a new phase this weekend. On Saturday, according to the New York Times, the administration announced that it would gut an anti-discrimination statute when it comes to health care access for transgender patients.
The rule, passed under the Obama administration in 2016, had prevented health care providers receiving federal financial assistance — including those receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments — from discriminating based on “gender identity.” A recent ruling out of Texas, however, found that segments of the rule were unlawful, opening the door for the Department of Health and Human Services to rewrite the rule.
The new rule, per the Times, has been submitted to the White House, which is currently “reviewing the proposed rule on ‘nondiscrimination in health programs’.” While the details of the new rule remain unclear, the Trump administration will likely allow health insurers to prevent coverage of treatments that help a person transition to another gender.
The new rule could have potentially devastating effects on America’s transgender community. As POLITICO reported last month, over 30 percent of transgender Americans “lack regular access to a medical provider, even as their community suffers from high rates of depression, exposure to violence and HIV infection.” Now, health care providers and insurers will make it easier to prevent gender reassignment surgeries — and potentially other procedures as well — for transgender Americans.
The announcement presents the Trump administration’s latest salvo against rights for transgender Americans. Not only has the Education Department repealed Obama-era guidelines for transgender students, but President Donald Trump has made barring transgender Americans from serving in the military — a diktat that is still passing through the court system — one of the key planks of his first two years in office.