By Richard Hack
Lambda Legal, attorneys from the firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLC., and eight LGBTQ organizations joined together Monday to sue the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for altering health care protections for transgender citizens which they previously had been afforded under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
“While HHS’s health care discrimination rule cannot change the law, it creates chaos and confusion where there was once clarity about the right of everyone in our communities, and specifically transgender people, to receive health care free of discrimination,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Senior Attorney and Health Care Strategist for Lambda Legal.
“Today, Lambda Legal, a broad coalition of LGBTQ groups, and the people our clients serve say ‘enough’ to the incessant attacks from the very agency charged with protecting their health and well-being,” he said. “For years, the Trump administration has utilized HHS as a weapon to target and hurt vulnerable communities who already experience alarming rates of discrimination when seeking care, even now, during a global pandemic. Their actions are wrong, callous, immoral and legally indefensible. We will fight back.”
Trump’s proposal was opposed by the American Medical Association and 30 other medical groups, which warned the Trump administration that its plan would put LGBTQ patients at risk. “To reduce the cost of healthcare and achieve our goal of creating a healthier nation, the specific needs of LGBTQ patients must be examined and effectively addressed,” the groups wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.