Continuing his crusade against treating all human beings like human beings, Trump is currently targeting the rights of transgender people and pregnant people. The administration plans to roll back sweeping federal nondiscrimination provisions enacted under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that protect transgender people and pregnant people.
Everything happening today is overwhelming, but let’s hold one another and try to understand the many layers of what’s going on and what the implications are.
First, let’s set the scene: This morning, Trump signed an executive order on “religious liberty.” Or, as Rachel put it, “not in the sense of actual religious liberty, but in the vein of the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that empower people and organizations to deny access and services to LGBT people and others.”
Also today, the House is set to vote on a rushed version of the Republicans’ health care bill to replace Obamacare. Not only does Trumpcare 2.0 weaken the definition of pre-existing conditions and raise premiums, the bill will reportedly also defund Planned Parenthood, meaning 400,000 women will lose access to healthcare—in addition to the estimated 24 million that would lose health coverage under the first version of Trumpcare. The bill is so bad, apparently, that Congress has exempted itself from the law’s provisions.
There’s one more thing, though. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice filed a remand and stay regarding “will pause ongoing litigation in a conservative Texas federal district court that had temporarily blocked the Section 1557 regulations and send the regulations back to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — presumably to gut them. DOJ officials in March decided not to challenge District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s injunction, which will remain in place while the regulations are remanded back to HHS.”
According to the Health & Human Services website, “Section 1557 makes it unlawful for any health care provider that receives funding from the Federal government to refuse to treat an individual – or to otherwise discriminate against the individual – based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Section 1557 imposes similar requirements on health insurance issuers that receive federal financial assistance.”
According to Rewire, “that means even religious and religiously affiliated providers that accept money from the federal government can’t deny patients health care or health coverage. If they do, Section 1557 provides a legal vehicle to sue for, say, people seeking sterilization, those seeking abortion care, or transgender patients seeking any health-care services.”
To simplify what this all means:
In a statement, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “The Section 1557 regulation has been literally life-saving for transgender people all across the country, who are routinely turned away from emergency rooms and doctors’ offices and refused coverage for critical medical care. Now, the Trump administration is going after transgender people yet again and trying to take away these basic protections.”
Transgender people face systemic discrimination within the healthcare system, and the impact of condoning outright refusals to provide care perpetuates what is already a minefield of discrimination for transgender people seeking to access care. A community-wide disengagement from the health care system results in dire health outcomes for transgender people, according to TLDEF:
“Rather than enduring abuse and poor treatment, transgender people often simply do without health care. The situation is made worse because in many ways, transgender people have a greater-than-average need to access health care. Transition-related hormone treatments and surgical procedures require partnership with a trustworthy healthcare provider. The alarming rate of HIV infection in parts of the transgender community similarly points to a heightened need for transgender people to access health care without fear of discrimination and poor treatment.”
What’s more is that according to GLAAD, “With transgender people living in poverty at 4 times the national average, a staggering 19% of transgender people report lacking any form of health insurance, including Medicaid.”
As the House debates its repeal of Obamacare, with opponents reading letters of opposition from groups like the American Medical Association and citing statistics of the deplorable impact of this new bill, it’s hard not to crumble under the weight of what might happen to me, my partner, my family, and scores of people I know. But really, Trump’s position in office has already, and will continue to unequivocally impact trans and gender nonconforming people, women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and the working class.