Attorney General Becerra Protects California in Triumph Over Trump Administration’s Harmful Healthcare Refusal Rule

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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AG Becerra successfully prevents implementation of Healthcare Refusal Rule set to go into effect on November 22, 2019

SACRAMENTO— California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a statement following a ruling in California v. Azar striking down the Trump Administration’s “Healthcare Refusal Rule”, a rule which would allow any individual or entity— from doctors to front desk receptionists —to deny healthcare based on any religious or moral objections, even in emergency situations. For example, the rule made clear that if an ambulance driver learned a patient was seeking care that they were opposed to, the driver could decline to transport the patient, without any accommodation or notice.

“Today’s court ruling blocked the President’s heartless, unlawful attempt to restrict the healthcare rights of women, LGBTQ individuals, and countless others,” said Attorney General Becerra. “While we celebrate today’s ruling, we are prepared to fight any further malicious attempts by the Trump Administration to interfere in healthcare and enable discrimination against Californians. This rule disproportionately threatens our state’s critical federal funding. We will continue to safeguard all Californians’ right to seek medical care, regardless of who they are or whom they love.”  

Today’s victory protects billions of dollars in federal funding for California’s public healthcare and other federally funded programs that provide crucial health, education, and labor services, including:  

  • $63 billion for healthcare services such as Medi-Cal;
  • $1.5 billion for public health initiatives including emergency preparedness and vaccination programs;
  • $6 billion for in-home supportive services;
  • $2.5 billion for child welfare and refugee assistance;
  • $3.8 billion for educational programs, including child care and state preschool programs, migrant education, adult education, education for homeless children, special education, and vocational education; and
  • $900 million for providing short-term income to unemployed individuals, funding local workforce development, and providing services to job seekers and employers.

Attorney General Becerra was joined by the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Santa Clara, Center for Reproductive Rights, Lambda Legal, Americans for Separation for Church and State, Trust Women Seattle, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Whitman-Walker Clinic, Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Center on Halsted, Hartford Gyn Center, Mazzoni Center, Medical Students for Choice, The Association of LGBT+ Psychiatrists, American Associations for Physicians for Human Rights, and individual private plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. A coalition of counties, LGBT community centers, physicians, and medical professionals also filed amicus briefs in support of California’s challenge to the federal government’s healthcare refusal rule. 

A copy of the decision can be found here.

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