Trump Plans to Roll Back Trans Health Care Protections

The latest attack on trans rights from the Trump administration is another salvo on access to health care. According to the New York Timesthe Department of Health and Human Services plans to roll back an Obama-era rule that prevents discrimination in health settings.

If the policy change moves forward, guidance on nondiscrimination in health care programs would be reversed, allowing providers, facilities and insurance companies to discriminate against transgender people, as well as those who don’t conform to gender stereotypes.

Sign this Care2 petition: Congress, defend trans health care!

Currently, this nondiscrimination rule, which clarified anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act to include gender identity and “stereotypical notions” about gender, means that health providers cannot deny services to transgender and gender nonconforming people on the basis of their identity –  and this includes all health care services. Whether an individual seeks hormone therapy, emergency treatment for a head injury or insurance coverage for mental health, it has to be provided equally.

Members of the religious right insist that people need “conscience exemptions” so they aren’t required to provide health care services they disagree with. This argument is common in the realm of abortion and birth control services — and a recent Trump administration mandate allowing people to deny these services on the basis “moral conviction.”

Civil rights activists fear that these exemption rules could be used to justify abuse and discrimination of LGBT patients in a variety of contexts.

The religious right wants the public to think that transgender people are compelling health care providers to offer transition-related services, which isn’t true. These services are provided by people who actively and voluntarily pursue additional training in order to care for trans patients, working in the context of clinics that provide gender-affirming care.

Trans people don’t want transition-related services from people who aren’t interested in providing them — not just because it would be an unpleasant experience, but also because a disinterested care provider might not be up-to-date on the most current standards of care.

What trans people do want is equal insurance coverage: Insurers should not be able to deny coverage for a health care need just because someone is transgender. Thus, for example, a medically-indicated hysterectomy should be covered regardless of someone’s gender, as long as the medical need has been demonstrated.

And transgender people also want the ability to visit a doctor to receive health care for situations that have nothing to do with their gender. Concerns about being able to access health care are justified, with many trans people reporting experiences of harassment, discrimination and even assault in health care settings.

Imagine going to the doctor for a persistent cough and being refused care. Or requesting a sexual health checkup and having the health care provider mock, belittle and shame you because of what your body looks like. Or begging people to not call an ambulance in an emergency, fearing that the ambulance crew might refuse to treat you.

This move comes on top of trying to ban transgender people from serving in the military, withdrawing guidance on including trans students in school and attacks on public services like Medicaid that will hit the trans community particularly hard. Advocates are watching developments here closely.

Take Action!

Rulemaking is a lengthy process: If the Trump administration decides to move forward with this rule, there will be a public comment period you can participate in.

You can also join fellow Care2 activists in calling on Congress to short-circuit the Trump Administration and proactively protect trans health care.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo credit: Ted Eytan


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 days ago

Thank you.

Joan E
Joan E4 days ago

So how is it that Pakistan is becoming reasonable on trans rights and Donald Trump is trying to bring the US back into the dark ages?

DAVID fleming
DAVID fleming5 days ago

Just plain wrong

Richard B
Richard B7 days ago

Wrong again, Donald.

DAVID fleming9 days ago

Man is a Inhuman subject

DAVID fleming
DAVID fleming10 days ago

He wants to roll back to the stone age

Hannah K
Hannah K12 days ago

thank you

Carol C
Carol C14 days ago

Health care is a human right. This administration is sub-human. Petition signed.

Danuta W
Danuta W15 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Karen H
Karen H17 days ago

Oh, Alea, you said it far better than I could.