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HHS Rule Encourages Discrimination and Endangers LGBTQ Health

On June 12, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule that eliminates federal regulations ensuring nondiscrimination in healthcare for transgender people and LGB people, people who are pregnant or seeking an abortion, those who require healthcare services in a language other than English, and other marginalized communities. In its announcement, HHS noted it was “restoring the rule of law” by interpreting sex discrimination “according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”

GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, issued the following statement in response:

“It is unconscionable that the Administration would take this action to encourage and promote discrimination during a pandemic that is already severely impacting vulnerable communities, including LGBTQ people. The fear of discrimination can have very real health consequences, especially in a public health crisis. These discriminatory measures are not only cruel, they also undermine public health and will assuredly result in poorer health outcomes for LGBTQ people.

“The rule stands in contradiction to prevailing medical science regarding transgender health and the consensus of all the leading health professional associations who have consistently opposed this measure. Healthcare providers in fact are united by the evidence in their support for nondiscrimination protections in healthcare for transgender and LGBQ people.

“GLMA strongly condemns this latest attack by the Administration on LGBTQ people. The federal government should not impede access to healthcare by encouraging discrimination during a global pandemic and we call on government officials at all levels, healthcare systems and hospitals, health insurance companies, and healthcare providers of all disciplines to ensure that the health and well-being of every person in the country, including LGBTQ people, is prioritized.” 

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