The Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services declared it will be reversing a “rule initiated by former President Donald Trump that defined ‘sex’ as biological, in an effort to prevent ‘discrimination’ against transgender people in health care practices” reports National Review.
The change will “likely require that states, which set their own Medicaid eligibility requirements, provide gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy to Medicaid recipients” writes National Review. The enforcement is not a binding federal rule, but means the federal government will “begin interpreting Section 1557 – the non-discrimination provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – to include a ban on discrimination based on sexual identity, rather than simply banning discrimination based on biological sex, as the Trump administration had.”
The rule reversal comes as a result of Biden signing Executive Order 13988 soon after taking office, which tasked federal agencies with creating plans to better enforce sexual orientation and gender identity rights. The Order had an April 30th deadline.
In the announcement, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation (SOGI).”
“That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination” added Becerra. National Review notes that religiously affiliated organizations are exempt for now, but may not be for long. In adherence to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) hospitals and healthcare providers with religious objections cannot be forced to medically participate in the “transition” of transgender patients.
However, Biden has agreed to sign the Equality Act which is pending in the U.S. Senate which inherently poses a threat to the protections of the RFRA as well as matters including gender identity, sexual orientation and abortion.