Obama hope to widen the definition of 'sex discrimination' in order to protect transgender citizens.
President Barack Obama has proposed a new rule that would end the discrimination transgender people amongst health insurers and medical providers. In particular, the rule would forbid the denying of coverage for care related to gender transition.
Obama’s proposal is in part an effort to clarify the civil rights provision within the Affordable Care Act by deeming bias of gender identity a form of sex discrimination
“This rule actually contains the most significant affirmation of the rights of transgender individuals of equal treatment in health care and health insurance that has existed anywhere in the law,” said Samuel Bagenstos, a law professor at the University of Michigan.
Transgender patients are often refuse care or prevented from using the facilities consistent to their chosen gender. Additionally, many transgender people are afraid to seek medical care.
The new rule would apply to a broad range of medical professionals and insurers that receive federal funding. Failure to comply would result in the loss of funding.
Transgender advocates are already considering the language of the proposed rule to be a major victory.
“Until now, the promise of health reform has not really been reached for many transgender people,” said Harper Jean Tobin, the director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s been very common to have these categorical exclusions that say there’s no coverage of anything related to gender transition, no matter how medically necessary. This says that in plans that are covered, which is a lot of public and private plans, that’s no longer permissible.”
Whether or not the Republicans in Congress will allow such a proposal to pass is yet to be seen.