WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has formally proposed to revise Obama-era civil rights for transgender people in the nation’s health care system, eliminating “gender identity” as a factor in health care and leaning government policy toward recognizing only characteristics of sex at birth.
The Department of Health and Human Services published its proposed regulation Friday, which eliminates a 2016 regulation inserted by the Obama administration that redefined discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include gender identity.
The Obama administration adopted the rule in question in 2016 to carry out a civil rights provision of the Affordable Care Act, known as Section 1557. That provision prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in “any health program or activity” that receives federal financial assistance. The 2016 rule further defined the term “gender identity” to mean a person’s “internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.”
In December 2016, a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that “Congress did not understand ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity,’” and the Trump administration, rather than appealing, has said it will bring the civil rights provision of the Affordable Care Act into compliance.