Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the Trump administration for removing health protections given to the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender patients, under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.
The Trump administration’s new rule seeks to narrow the definition of “sex discrimination” in a way that effectively allows health care providers to turn away LGBTQ patients.
The rule would also allow “religious health care organizations, including religious hospitals and their employees, to discriminate on the basis of sex,” according to a statement from Ferguson’s office.
ObamaCare explicitly prohibits discrimination against a patient because of their sex, race, national origin, age or disability.
“We should be working to eliminate discrimination in our health care system, not allowing it,” Ferguson said in the statement. “President Trump’s unlawful attempt to roll back anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act directly threatens the health and lives of Washingtonians. We’re in the middle of a pandemic — broad health care coverage has rarely been more critical. I will not allow the Trump Administration to attack Washingtonians’ access to unbiased care.”
The health care setback for the LGBTQ community follows a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June that bolstered protections for gay and transgender workers at the office under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Washington State Department of Health estimates that, if the Trump health care rule stands, between 5,200 and 16,000 transgender Washingtonians will lose basic health coverage, and coverage for gender affirming health care services.
“This will cause devastating mental health consequences including depression, substance abuse and suicide, harming Washington and its residents,” according to Ferguson’s office, adding that an additional 82,000 LGBTQ Washington residents would lose protection from discrimination as they seek out health care.
In his complaint, Ferguson argues that Trump’s rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which prevents the federal government from implementing new rules that violate standing law or constitutional rights.
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