AMA speaks out against Trump administration

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American Medical Association conference file photo
American Medical Association conference file photo courtesy AMA

New plan seeks to remove civil rights protections

The American Medical Association has spoken out against the Trump administration’s motions to remove protections against discrimination related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and the termination of pregnancies across multiple health care programs and insurance plans. The decision circumvents non-discrimination provisions that had been part of the Affordable Care Act by limited coverage protections.

In part, the letter from the AMA read: “This proposal marks the rare occasion in which a federal agency seeks to remove civil rights protections. It legitimizes unequal treatment of patients by not only providers, health care organizations, and insurers, but also by the government itself—and it will harm patients. Such policy should not be permitted by the U.S. government, let alone proposed by it. HHS (Health and Human Services) should not finalize the proposed rule, but rather should redirect their efforts toward advancing health care access and equity for all. The AMA remains ready to assist with such efforts.”

By law, the government must consider public comments before putting a new rule into place. SAGE and the American Society on Aging are encouraging supporters to uphold Section 1557 by submitting comments to protecttranshealth.org, a project of the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Law Center. The comment period ended on August 13.

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Section 1557 of the healthcare law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, disability, national origin and sex, which the Obama administration interpreted as also barring discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping. Removing these protections, as the Trump administration is trying to do, would leave LGBTQ people, particularly older members of the community, at the mercy of insurers, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other providers which could choose to withhold care.

“This proposed rule change is discriminatory because it erodes critical protections for vulnerable Americans seeking health care,” said Paul Downey, ASA Public Policy Committee co-chair. “It represents yet another attempt by the administration to dismantle fundamental provisions of the Affordable Care Act to the detriment of people who need the coverage most.”