Biden Administration Reinstates Protections for LGBTQ Against Health Care Discrimination

Crowd raising posters chanting to respect LGBT rights

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Office for Civil Rights will interpret and enforce Section 1557 of the Health Care Rights Law and Title IX’s prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include both discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation AND gender identity. This action reverses a policy put into place during the Trump Administration and will make sure gay and transgendered people are protected from discrimination in the health care setting. It is also one of many actions the Biden Administration has taken to bolster LGBTQ rights since January 2021.

HHS said that its Office for Civil Rights made the decision in light of U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County in June 2020 and subsequent court decisions. Bostock v. Clayton County was a huge victory for LGBT rights and a defeat for Trump’s administration, as it clarified that a longstanding federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees.

Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra said in a statement that, “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.” And HHS’ action “simply says what everyone already should know: You should not discriminate against people. That includes those based on sexual orientation or gender identity and when it comes to healthcare – we want to make sure that’s the case,” said Becerra in a CNN interview.

For more information, read HHS’ press release: HHS Announces Prohibition on Sex Discrimination Includes Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.