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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights issues new nondiscrimination rule

Photo of the Department of Health and Human Services Headquarters

On April 26, the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services issued a new nondiscrimination rule in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rule will replace the “Rollback Rule” implemented during the Trump-Pence Administration which undermined health care nondiscrimination protections.

“We commend the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services for issuing this important nondiscrimination rule,” said Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research at the Fenway Institute. “It will explicitly protect the right of millions of sexual and gender minority people (SGM people) in the U.S. to access health care and will play a key role in the reduction of health disparities affecting SGM people. We commend the Biden-Harris Administration for their visionary leadership in promoting LGBTQIA+ equality and health equity.”

The new rule was issued one month after plaintiffs in Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (BAGLY) et al v. HHS, a lawsuit challenging the Trump-Pence Administration’s “Rollback Rule,” filed a motion for summary judgment calling on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to repeal the discriminatory rule.

The Trump-era regulation attempted to roll back express protections on the basis of sex — including pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping — as well as protections for patients with limited-English proficiency, Indigenous patients, and those living with chronic illnesses, including HIV.

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