Health care reform taking an extra step for inclusion of LGBT community
Efforts being made to make sure that the Affordable Care Act applies to transgender people.
The Department of Health and Human Services has recently released a letter that has been hailed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates, and that has clarified certain health care reform provisions that prohibit sex discrimination that is currently experienced by transgender people through their coverage.
The HHS has stated that it is discriminatory for these individuals to be denied coverage.
This regulation applies to both employers and insurers, who, based on the health care reform laws, are not permitted to deny benefits or coverage to an individual or family “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity,” advocates hope that transgender people — those who identify with a sex other than the one they were born as — will take another step toward achieving equality in health care.”
This community has experienced a large struggle that the health care reform laws are attempting to correct.
According to M. Dru Lavasseur, this particular segment of the population has a history of being “underserved and in need of a lot of health care”. Lavasseur is a transgender rights attorney for a New York based advocacy group called Lambda Legal. He expressed that he was pleased with the contents of the letter from the HHS, as it contained an important message that recognized the problems and the fact that they need to be addressed.
The HHS letter was issued by the Office of Civil Rights from that department. It supported and expanded on the recent decision of the courts, as well as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that occurred in April. These decisions stated that according to the prohibition against sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act also applies to people who are transgender.
The letter makes reference to these rulings and stated that the civil rights office will now accept and look into any complaints registered by transgender people regarding sex discrimination under the health care reform. In the case that this form of discrimination is identified, and an employer or insurer does not voluntarily act to correct the issue, the civil rights office may take steps in order to cease financial assistance from federal sources, among other forms of penalty.