The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHA) recently proposed
a new rule that will extend certain legal protection under the Affordable
Care Act (ACA) to transgender patients. For instance, the proposed would
prohibit blanket insurance policies that exclude gender transition care
and would require that healthcare facilities treat patients consistent
with their gender identities.
Section 1557 of the ACA extended civil rights protections banning sex discrimination
to health programs and activities. Prior to the healthcare law, civil
rights laws prohibited discrimination based only on race, color, national
origin, disability, or age. The HHS rule proposal makes it clear that
the prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination based on
"This proposed rule is an important step to strengthen protections
for people who have often been subject to discrimination in our healthcare
system," HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a
As we have mentioned in our San Diego Injury Blog,
transgender patients often face discrimination when seeking healthcare. In fact, a recent study revealed that about 42 percent of female-to-male
transgender adults experienced verbal harassment, physical assault or
denial of equal treatment in a doctor's office or hospital.
If approved, the rule would apply widely to a range of providers and insurers.
It would specifically include all hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid
payments and all health plans that offer coverage through the ACA health
In addition to
prohibiting transgender discrimination, the proposed rule also includes additional protections for female patients
and patients with disabilities. The rule makes it clear that women must
be treated equally with men in the health care they receive from providers.
In addition, it provides adiitional guidance regarding the ACA’s
requirements regarding services for individuals who speak limited English
as well as individuals with disabilities.
If you or someone you love has suffered from healthcare discrimination
or medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.