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The proposed rule will eliminate protections against discrimination for women, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable populations
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in submitting a comment letter opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) proposed rule to drastically undermine Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination in federal healthcare programs, benefits, and services. Specifically, Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age. The proposed rule would roll back anti-discrimination protections for women, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities by undermining critical legal protections that guarantee healthcare as a right.
“This proposed rule is not only unlawful, it opens the door to discrimination in our healthcare system and threatens members of our families—women, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and those individuals with limited English proficiencies,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Trump Administration has made abundantly clear that it has no regard for access to affordable, quality healthcare. In California, we will continue to ensure every community, regardless of stripe or stature, can continue to access comprehensive medical services. We will not turn back the clock – we will fight for the right of every Californian and American to access healthcare.”
The ACA prohibits discrimination in federal healthcare—from Medicaid, Medicare, and the healthcare exchanges, to federal healthcare grant programs providing safeguards against discrimination. Further, the ACA expressly seeks to provide equity in healthcare and prohibits any regulation that creates unreasonable barriers for individuals to obtain healthcare. The proposed rule contradicts this and other federal civil rights laws by sanctioning discrimination in our healthcare system. It will withdraw key protections, placing patients at greater risk of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age.
In today’s letter the Attorneys General emphasize that the rule would undermine the robust anti-discrimination protections set under current law.
This would specifically harm:
Joining Attorney General Becerra and Attorney General Healey in filing the comment letter are the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Today’s comment letter is Attorney General Becerra’s latest effort in his fight to protect the ACA and ensure Californians have access to high quality affordable care. Attorney General Becerra is currently leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general in defending the ACA and the healthcare of millions of Americans in Texas v. United States. He is also defending against the Trump Administration’s harmful birth control rules that allow denial of care by employers in California v. Azar.
A copy of the letter can be found here.