Gay and transgender people will be protected against sex discrimination in healthcare, the U.S. health secretary said on Monday, as President Joe Biden’s administration reversed a policy put in place under his predecessor Donald Trump.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the action restores protections under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, against sexual discrimination in healthcare.
“It simply says what everyone already should know: You should not discriminate against people,” Becerra told CNN. “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.”
The new policy represents a reversal of a reversal. The HHS under Trump in June 2020 issued a rule that lifted some anti-discrimination protections under Obamacare, a law signed by former President Barack Obama in 2010.
The Trump-era rule reversed some provisions of the law that extended civil rights protections in healthcare to cover areas including gender identity and abortion.
“So now it’s clear, there’s no ambiguity: You cannot discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Becerra added. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Heavey and Will Dunham)