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(Washington D.C., August 6, 2012)—The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
The clarification, issued earlier this month, came in response to a letter submitted by NCLR and several other LGBT organizations. The letter from HHS confirmed that the anti-discrimination protections in section 1557 of the ACA, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, include discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
This announcement means people who face discrimination or are being denied access to any federally funded health service or program on the basis of gender identity may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at HHS. This protection applies to all healthcare facilities and programs that receive any funds from the federal government. This includes any hospitals, clinics, and mental health facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Statement by NCLR Federal Policy Director Maya Rupert, Esq.:
"Transgender people face severe discrimination in healthcare settings and are often denied care completely. This announcement affirms that all patients in federally funded health care settings must be treated equally and may not be denied care simply because of who they are. We are grateful to HHS for clarifying this important policy and providing transgender people with the security of knowing they are included in the administration’s commitment to the health and well-being of all Americans."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. http://www.NCLRights.org