It was recently announced that the Trump administration plans to cut back on an Obama-era rule that prevents hospitals and health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.
The law was passed by the Obama administration and prohibited health care providers from discriminating against patients due to sex, national origin, color, race, disability or age. It was put in place in 2010 through the Affordable Care Act and was later made clear by the Obama administration in 2016 that the law included trans and gender-nonconforming patients.
According to Advocate, the Trump administration is turning to a 2017 ruling by a Texas federal judge who claimed that the 2010 rule did not cover sexual identity or presentation. Judge Reed O’Connor claimed that the Affordable care act “adopted the binary definition of sex” and stated, “Congress did not understand ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ ”.
The New York Times reported that Judge O’Connor said the Obama-era rule violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it did not include an exemption for health care providers who had religious objections to providing abortions or gender transitions.
This decision to rescind the rule has the potential to greatly impact the transgender community. Most importantly for those who are transgender, the rule can be used to bar insurers from limited services that help people change genders, according to nydailynews.com. Not only that, but the rule made other necessary services accessible to trans patients, such as affordable hormones and mental health services, according to Advocate.
This move by the administration allows health care workers to discriminate against individuals on the grounds of religious beliefs. Obviously, this would make it significantly more difficult for those who identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming to receive necessary treatments.
This would make such treatments even more difficult than they already are. Harper Jean Tobin, the policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality, told The New York Times that in surveys conducted, transgender patients still report “mistreatment, refusals of care and harassment in medical settings.”
According to The New York Times, Jocelyn Samuels, who was the director of the civil rights office under President Obama, said, “If the Trump administration rescinds the protections against sex stereotyping and gender identity discrimination, the effect will be potentially devastating not just for the trans community, but for any other patients who are gender-nonconforming, including lesbian and gay individuals.”
However, this does not come as a surprise to those who have been following the Trump administration’s actions towards the LGBTQ community; this is merely the latest incident. It seems that the Trump administration has consistently made an effort to roll back transgender rights, specifically those that were created under President Obama’s administration, such as gender-neutral bathrooms. In any case, it’s important to hold the president accountable for all changes he makes and the negative backlash they may have.
Chloe Ruffennach is a student at Ohio University and a member of Ohio University College Democrats. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts on the Trump administration's plan? Let Chloe know by emailing her email@example.com.