May 15, 2016
Barack Obama Administration Bans Transgender Discrimination – Under Obamacare, HHS Dept. Will Extend Healthcare Irrespective Of Gender

The Obama Administration has effectively banned any transgender discrimination. Under Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will extend all health programs irrespective of the gender identity.

All discrimination stemming from gender identity will have to cease, signaled Barack Obama through a new rule that bans discrimination against transgender people. In fact, all discrimination on the basis of sex within health programs that receive federal funding will be considered illegal.

The DHHS announced Friday the finalization of the "Non-discrimination in Health Programs and Activities" rule, reported Time. The rule is part of the Affordable Care Act's Section 1557, and it specifically forbids denying health care based on gender identity. Particularly, all health care providers that receive funding from the DHHS must not deny patients treatment for sex-specific ailments. For example, medical facilities cannot deny transgender patients access to treatments for ovarian or prostate cancer just because the person identifies as a different sex.
While the rule may appear to support the transgender community, it goes much beyond. Essentially, all discrimination on the basis of sex is now completely banned, at least within health programs and facilities that qualify for any federal funding, reported ACA Signups. Overall, the rule broadly bans the denial of coverage or health care itself on the basis of gender identity.

Justifying the ruling and explaining the logic, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell said, "A central goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help all Americans access quality, affordable health care. Today's announcement is a key step toward realizing equity within our health care system and reaffirms this Administration's commitment to giving every American access to the health care they deserve."

The Obama administration appears to be cracking hard on the discrimination against transgender people. Besides banning denial of medical service to those who identify as transgender, the government has also set up blueprints to establish legal safeguards for transgender students. Recently, the Obama Administration had taken a strong and legal stand against North Carolina for its controversial legislation. The government has said the state's laws violate the Civil Rights Act and sued North Carolina.

Why do transgender people need such a centrally enacted law? The transgender community has always faced a lot of opposition similar to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. The LGBTQ community is regularly marginalized and claims it receives discriminatory treatment. However, speaking statistically, almost 20 percent of transgender men and women were refused services because of their gender identity, indicates a 2010 national survey. Moreover, nearly 30 percent of segregation happened in medical settings. Half of the transgender had to repeatedly advise or teach their health care provider to be sensitive towards the group and care for them without discrimination.

Experts feel the rules will not eliminate all discrimination. However, the rules certainly offer a strong legal recourse to those transgender people who feel they have been wronged. People may very likely experience segregation based on their gender identity, but this time, they will have the ability to file complaints and seek legal action against those who discriminate.

While the Obama administration has certainly stepped up the protection extended to transgender individuals, it set the tone for intense national debate following a "guidance letter" that was sent to all U.S. public schools. The letter directs the schools to "allow transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity."

Besides transgender people, the new rule also seeks to extend protection to people with disabilities and non-English speakers.

Opponents of the Democrat Obama administration are confident their Republican presidential hopeful will tear into the amendments. The presidential candidate has already promised to repeal "every word" of the landmark health care law on his first day in office, reported Addicting Info.

[Photo by Samuel Kubani/Getty Images]