Joe Biden Reverses Trump-era Restrictions On Transgender Healthcare Access

News & Politics
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President Joe Biden's administration announced a reversal of Trump-era policies that reduced the rights of gay and transgender people this Monday, according to a report by the Associated Press.

In a bold move indicative of the Democrat's more socially progressive positions in comparison to the previous administration, the policy laid out by the Department of Health and Human Services extends the reach of anti-discrimination laws to apply to members of the LGBTQ+ community in healthcare settings.

A Change In Definition

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The Trump administration had previously whittled down the already small number of protections in place for gay and transgender citizens via a redefining of the word 'sex'. The previous administration had defined 'sex' to refer to a person's gender that they were assigned at birth.

This definition goes against academic consensus, which distinctly separates the terms of sex and gender as being biological and social, respectively. 

The move to a different definition by the Trump administration resulted in the exclusions of trans people from protections that cover the rights of other citizens.

The Response

Response from the medical community is supportive of the incoming repair of medical rights to LGBTQ+ people. 

“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.  “Everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

This incoming change also aligns with the law protections put in place last year to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination in the workplace.

Who Does This Affect?

 

The move comes as good news to civil rights advocates, as well as those in the medical field.

The news on Monday means that the Civil Rights Office will now again extend its jurisdiction to cover complaints of discrimination based upon a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. By discriminating against patients based on these characteristics, medical providers risk being cut off from Medicaid and Medicare payments.

Since 2016, a Williams Institute study concluded that 1.4 million adults identify as transgender in the United States. 

Response From The Right

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Unsurprisingly, Republicans across the board have thrown criticism at the incoming policy. One voice is Roger Severino, who was partly responsible in the creation of the original Trump policy. 

“This is inflaming the culture wars, especially when you are trying to circumvent the process,” said Severino. "Partly because of conflicting lower court rulings on the Trump and Obama policies, Becerra should have undertaken a formal rule-making, which can take months. “I expect lawsuits,” he added.

 

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