LGBT Life Center Send Letter to HHS Opposing Policy Changes

Members of the public can comment online through August 13.

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Today, the LGBT Life Center joined LGBT centers from across the nation and sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expressing their opposition to the Trump Administration’s new policy allowing for discrimination in health care and education programs.

In a blog post, the LGBT Life Center stated that “this denial of basic rights – health and well-being – is the latest attack on our community by this administration. It is harmful for our health and well-being; it creates legal discrimination, and, it widens the health care access gap; giving doctors and health care professionals the right to deny care and services just because of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

You may read the full text of the Life Center’s letter below.


July 31, 2019

Secretary Alex Azar
Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 509F,
200 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20201

Re: Section 1557 NPRM, RIN 0945-AA11, “Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities”

LGBT Life Center opposes the newly proposed regulation focusing on Section 1557 of the Health Care Rights Law.  It will jeopardize the health and well being of vulnerable populations such as the LGBTQ community.

If finalized, this proposed rule would severely threaten LGBTQ patients’ access to all forms of health care and create confusion among providers about their obligations. The proposed rule would encourage hospitals to deny care to LGBTQ people, and enable insurance companies to deny transgender people coverage for health care services that they cover for non-transgender people. This rule would also make it harder for people experiencing discrimination in health care to know and exercise their rights, including people with chronic health conditions like HIV. 

LGBTQ people who reported experiencing discrimination in the year prior were nearly 7 times more likely to avoid doctor’s offices to avoid discrimination than LGBTQ people who had not experienced discrimination.

An estimated 1 in 3 transgender people have experienced direct discrimination from a health care provider. Additionally, 41% of LGBTQ people surveyed living in nonmetropolitan areas said it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to find the same type of service at a different hospital if they were turned away.

Due to these statistics, much of the work done at LGBT Life Center focuses on connecting LGBTQ people to quality health care that addresses their specific needs – including obtaining information on sexual health, support around HIV/AIDS, and hormone replacement therapy.

Health care providers and insurers should not be encouraged to pick and choose who to treat. This attempt to override the needs of LGBTQ people, among others, contradicts decades of federal court interpretations of the law. LGBT Life Center opposes the proposed regulation focused on changing Section 1557 of the Health Care Rights Law.

Sincerely,

Stacie Walls
CEO, LGBT Life Center


Members of the public may voice their opinion about this proposed policy online until August 13 HERE.

The NorVA