Trump Administration has reversed the rule of non discrimination in healthcare for transgenders.
The administration had submitted the proposal in June 2019. Congress has now finalized the rule on Friday.
The reversal has come right in the LGBTQ Pride Month. Also, Friday was the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse Gay night club which claimed 49 lives.
The Obama-era rule came into effect in 2016. The rule explained that the protections based on gender identity, defined as “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”
The reversal supports the previous rules of the administration’s idea of defining “sexual discrimination” as only applicable when someone faces discrimination due to being male or female. However, it doesn’t protect people on the basis of their gender identity.
The finalization of the rule came amid the pandemic and ongoing protests across the country. “I can’t help but wonder if the timing [of this rule] is by design so that this is something that people won’t pay attention to,” said Tia Sherèe Gaynor, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati.
Roger Severino, Director of the Office for Civil Rights, said, “we’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex”, when the proposal was made.
The rule is now finalized and can only be terminated if both the chambers of the congress vote so within the next 60 days. Moreover, the President’s decision still matters.
Severino argued in favor by saying that the rule will save health services and insurers $2.9 Billion over a period of 5 years.
Under the new law, clinics may refuse checkup to transgenders. Furthermore, the insurers may not be providing facilities accepting the transgenders as it.
Trump supporters applauded the step saying that it will reduce the confusion about legal meaning of “sexual discrimination”. Critics believe the step to be a threat for the transgender community which is already vulnerable.
LGBTQ activist group Lambda Legal has said that it will challenge the new rule in court. [The] “rule is a tragically failed public health policy and just flat-out illegal,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan. He is Lambda Legal senior attorney and health care strategist.
The country’s health system is already failing to battle the ongoing pandemic. The COVID-19 numbers are increasing daily. The virus has infected more than 2 million people and 116k have died.