Republicans’ efforts to undo President Barack Obama’s health care reform law appear to have come to an end, as House Speaker John Boehner described it Thursday as the “law of the land.”
In an interview with ABC News, the nation’s top elected Republican seemed to indicate that Congress wouldn’t engage in the type of repeated repeal votes the way it had in the past two years.
Federal health-care programs and those funded with federal dollars are barred from discriminating against transgender people, a senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services told LGBT advocacy groups in July — a sweeping decision that will impact most health-care services across the country.
Although the decision does not specifically address transition-related care — surgery and other medical procedures that some transgender people undergo in the course of moving to their self-identified gender — a leading transgender advocate says the decision is a “tool” to get protections that would cover transition-related care.
In response to a letter sent by a dozen LGBT health and advocacy organizations to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in June, Leon Rodriguez — the director of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights — wrote on July 12 HHS considers discrimination based on “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” in federal health programs or activities receiving funding under Affordable Care Act-covered programs to be illegal.
In the letter, obtained by BuzzFeed, Rodriguez agreed with the groups’ assessment that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Obama’s health care law prohibited discrimination against transgender people and stated that his office would investigate any complaints of such discrimination.
Referring to a recent survey, National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling told BuzzFeed that 20 percent of transgender people report being turned away from a health-care provider for being transgender.
“That’s illegal now,” she said.
A step forward for Women’s Health in America
From free birth control to breast-feeding support, American women are now eligible for eight additional preventive health care benefits free under the Affordable Care Act.
- Well-woman visits
- Gestational diabetes screening
- HPV DNA testing
- STI counseling
- HIV screening and counseling
- Contraception and contraceptive counseling
- Breast-feeding support, supplies and counseling
- Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling