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Take Action Now to Support Nondiscrimination in Healthcare

Please act now to tell HHS you support efforts to establish clear and comprehensive regulations ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people do not face discrimination in accessing healthcare and coverage.

The HHS Office of Civil Rights issued a proposed rule in September on nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act and the comment period will close on November 9.

HHS needs to hear NOW from GLMA members, and especially healthcare providers, about why strong nondiscrimination prohibitions are important.

Here’s how you can submit comments of support:

  1. Review the sample message below and add any relevant information. Be sure to note the highlighted areas to make sure you modify these sections, if necessary.
  2. Go to regulations.gov to submit online comments on the proposed rule on “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities.”
  3. Follow the instructions at regulations.gov where you can copy and paste your letter into the Comment box or upload a pdf file of your letter.
  4. Be sure to include your name and credentials.

The deadline to submit comments is Monday, November 9, 2015 by 11:59 PM Eastern.

Thank you for taking action to support nondiscrimination in healthcare!

Sample Letter

November 9, 2015
Department of Health and Human Services
Office for Civil Rights
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 509F
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

RE: Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, Proposed Rule RIN 0945-AA02

To Whom It May Concern:

As a healthcare provider, I know firsthand the critical importance of eliminating health disparities and ensuring that all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and their families, do not face discriminatory barriers when seeking quality, affordable health coverage and care. I therefore strongly support the reforms introduced by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), particularly the application of essential nondiscrimination protections to the U.S. health system by ACA Section 1557, and applaud the work of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce these protections by actively investigating complaints and giving the opportunity to provide comments that will further strengthen the proposed rule.

In particular, I strongly urge you to ensure that the final rule addresses three points of critical importance to LGBT people:

1. Establish a robust enforcement scheme to ensure nondiscrimination in benefit design, including codifying the transgender-inclusive protections in the proposed rule and clarifying that Section 1557 prohibits other forms of discrimination in benefit design, such as restricting access to medications used to treat specific conditions by placing them in high cost-sharing tiers, or by using discriminatory standards to determine medical necessity for specific populations or conditions.

2. Clarify that the scope of protections under Section 1557’s sex nondiscrimination provision includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as clarifying protections for individuals with non-binary gender identities.

3. Do not undermine the purpose and effectiveness of this rule by adding a religious exemption.

Nondiscrimination in healthcare is important to me because [insert a sentence or two about why this is important or what you know about discrimination against LGBT people in healthcare. If you have a specific example of discrimination, feel free to share it.]

Thank you again for the opportunity to share my support for ensuring Section 1557 provides the strongest protections possible that will enable all LGBT people to access healthcare and coverage without fear of discrimination. 

[Insert Name and Credentials]

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