Tuesday, May 28, 2019

APA, Medical Partners Protest Proposed Rule That Could Deny Care to LGBTQ, Women Patients

APA and five other medical specialty organizations issued a statement today protesting a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would weaken nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Section 1557 prohibits discrimination in health coverage and care on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in health programs and activities that receive federal funding. These include most health care facilities, including hospitals and physician offices, and most health insurance companies. Under a 2016 rule from the Obama administration, discrimination on the basis of sex includes gender identity.

In addition to weakening protections for LGBTQ patients, the rule would allow religious exemptions that could restrict women’s access to reproductive health care and weakens requirements that have enabled millions of patients with disabilities and limited English proficiency to access services, the groups noted.

“Rolling back gender discrimination protections as the rule proposes would impede access to care and sanction discrimination against already vulnerable patient populations,” APA and its coalition partners said. “We oppose any laws and regulations that discriminate against transgender and gender-diverse individuals. We oppose any medically unnecessary restrictions placed on women’s access to reproductive health care. Instead, we urge the administration to eliminate this policy change and work with us to ensure patients have access to the quality care they need.”

The five other groups are the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association. The coalition represents nearly 600,000 physicians and medical students nationwide.

For related news, see the Psychiatric News article “APA Opposes Ban on Transgender Military.”

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