The Biden Administration has reversed an anti-LGBTQ+ healthcare policy enacted by the previous administration, returning the United States to Obama-era protections that extend to the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2016, President Obama signed a provision to the Affordable Care Act, putting in place anti-discrimination protections to guard against sex and gender discrimination in healthcare.
In June 2020, Trump’s Health and Human Services Department issued a rule removing those civil rights protections in healthcare based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
On Monday May 10th, 2021, President Biden’s HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced a reversal of that reversal.
The change means LGBTQ+ people — including queer parents and their kids — who were discriminated against by their healthcare providers can once again file a complaint with the federal government, prompting an investigation into the issue, saving them from an otherwise lengthy and pricey lawsuit.
Becerra said the HHS Office for Civil Rights made the reversal based on a June 2020 ruling by the Supreme Court, which found a longstanding federal law barring workplace discrimination should extend to LGBTQ+ employees.
"The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation," Becerra said in the statement.
“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences. It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period,” he added.
The Biden Administration’s return to anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people comes amid an ongoing battle surrounding trans rights at the state level.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a GOP-led push has led to anti-trans sports-related legislation being filed in around 30 states this year alone.
"With healthcare for transgender youth under attack by state legislatures, this move to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in healthcare is critical," the ACLU said.