Aug 13, 2019
The comment period for sweeping changes in federal health care policy, proposed by the Trump Administration, has ended, but advocates on each side are still making their case.
At 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, the portal at regulations.gov stopped accepting comments about the administration’s plan to repeal and replace an Obama-era regulation prohibiting health care providers from discriminating against transgender people.
The new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule would eliminate the currently accepted expanded definition of sex, which recognizes gender identity in cases involving sex discrimination. The Affordable Care Act forbids discrimination based on race, national origin, disability, age or sex in health-related programs that receive federal funding. The language includes gender identity as an aspect of sex.
One longstanding opponent to transgender rights and proponent of religious freedom laws favored by the administration addressed the issue Saturday during a Republican breakfast in Fort Payne, Ala. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, now a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, called transgender identity “dumb,” reported the conservative blog, Yellowhammer News. He also said it’s “not Biblical.”
“You know LGBT rights aren’t given to us by God. They’re created by man,” Moore said. “I don’t see a right in our Constitution for a man to be a woman. If it was there, why wouldn’t it come up earlier? I don’t see a right.”
Advocates on the other side gathered on August 6 in Hartford, Conn. Connecticut is the latest state to join a multi-state alliance that objects to the change, and federal and state lawmakers joined local LGBTQ activists in the capital to denounce the proposal.
“This would mean that I would not have blockers or hormones,” 13 year old Eva Gold. “This is important to me because these services and medications make me my whole self.”
Before she transitioned, Gold said she considered killing herself because of how others treated her.
“I felt out of place. I was made fun of daily and discriminated against so I tried to take my life because my body did not match who I am,” Gold said. “How would you feel if your loved one took their own life because they couldn’t get the emotional or medical support they needed to live their best life as their authentic self?”
One of Gold’s mentors, trans man, author and advocate Tony Ferraiolo, delivered a grim message at the news conference.
“Eliminating the general prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity, as well as specific health insurance coverage protections for transgender individuals will literally kill members of the transgender and non-binary communities,” Ferraiolo said. “We can’t go back to the days when health care providers and first responders could stand around a trans person and watch them die.”