On May 13, 2016, the Obama Administration took two highly important and significant steps that positively impact the health and well-being of LGBT people. The Department of Health and Human Services issued final regulations establishing that Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act provides nondiscrimination protections in healthcare access and coverage for the entire LGBT community. In addition, the Department of Education issued guidance to all public schools that Title IX ensures that transgender students be able to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
GLMA President Jesse Joad issued the following statement:
“GLMA applauds the Department of Health and Human Services for its actions today to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from discrimination in healthcare settings, including health insurance coverage. In issuing these regulations, HHS continues to deliver on the promise of the Affordable Care Act as a vehicle for closing health disparities facing LGBT people and that fear of discrimination should not be a barrier to accessing healthcare.
“The Department of Education deserves similar high praise for its strong guidance issued today to public schools that transgender students must be able to use the bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. The guidelines help create a safe environment for transgender students that removes the stigma so often associated with negative health outcomes for transgender youth.
“Both of these actions from the Obama Administration represent significant progress toward healthcare equality for all LGBT people.”
Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act bans discrimination based on sex, which the final regulations make clear include gender identity and sex-stereotyping. In its joint statement on the regulation, the ACLU, GLAD, Lambda Legal and NCLR stated: “The rules also recognize that discrimination based on sex stereotypes or the sex of someone’s partner or spouse is unlawful sex discrimination. As numerous federal courts have held, federal civil rights laws protect LGBT people against mistreatment based on sex stereotypes, including discrimination based on lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity.”