Final Rule Eliminating Federal Protections for LGBTQ Community Members Unconscionable

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act has been the core element of protection for vulnerable populations across the country including the LGBTQ community.

SAN FRANCISCO—Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act has been the core element of protection for vulnerable populations across the country including the LGBTQ community. It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and all which are funded in whole or in part by the Department of Health and Human Services. San Francisco AIDS Foundation has issued the following statement:

In the midst of a pandemic, the Trump Administration demonstrates its disregard and disdain for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities most disproportionately impacted by both COVID-19 and HIV. The decision by the Administration to actively rescind federal civil rights protections for these populations is a dangerous escalation of past discriminatory actions to sanction discrimination against the LGBTQ members of these communities. Black, Latinx and Indigenous LGBTQ community members, especially Black trans women, are disproportionately vulnerable to the same high rates of morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 as others in their communities. Cruelly, these same communities are also disproportionately impacted by HIV and have the poorest health outcomes while living in communities with the least health infrastructure.

On the anniversary of the mass murder at Pulse Nightclub, the Trump Administration is sending an unacceptable but clear message of disregard for the most vulnerable populations in the US. LGBTQ individuals have no federal job protections, making their employment precarious depending on where they live, the federal government has refused to include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) statistics in federal health reports used to determine the trajectory and severity of diseases and to propose public health solutions. Time after time the Trump Administration has sought to marginalize and exclude these vulnerable communities from accessing the health care they deserve. Transgender communities have come in for especially cruel and targeted discriminatory attacks by the Departments of HHS, Education and Defense, stripping protections designed to keep them safe in the workplace, schools and health care settings.

It is important for Californians to remember, and for legislators and regulators in other states to note, that this federal rule violates existing state nondiscrimination laws. In California, transgender people will continue to have legal protections in accessing health care.

We support the Human Rights Campaign and other civil rights organizations in their efforts to sue the Trump Administration to prevent the removal of Section 1557 protections from communities of color and the LGBTQ community. We call on Congress to ensure that federal protections for vulnerable communities are restored to federal law.

About San Francisco AIDS Foundation

San Francisco AIDS Foundation promotes health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV, through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy, and community partnerships. Founded in 1982, SFAF envisions a future where health justice is achieved for all people living with or at risk for HIV, ultimately striving for a day when race is not a barrier to health and wellness, substance use is not stigmatized, HIV status does not determine quality of life, and HIV transmission is eliminated. Each year more than 25,000 people rely on SFAF programs and services and millions more find advocacy tools and information they need online.