Kathleen Sebelius writes letter asking Out Leaders to oppose new transphobic policy
The new rule would exclude transgender individuals from receiving Affordable Care Act benefits.

Kathleen Sebelius, a member of Out Leadership’s Global Advisory Board, sent out a letter asking Out Leadership member companies to oppose a new policy that would exclude transgender people from ACA benefits:

Dear Out Leaders, 

Last fall, Out Leadership led 13 equality organizations to convene more than 250 companies as signatories to the Business Statement for Transgender Equality. It was the largest collective statement of support for the transgender community in history, and many of your companies stood with us. 

That work was prompted, in part, by reports that the Department of Health & Human Services intended to adopt new rules making it much harder for transgender people to access healthcare. 

As we anticipated, several weeks ago the Office of Civil Rights at HHS proposed a regulation eliminating explicit protections for transgender patients under the Affordable Care Act. That means that we have another important opportunity to stand up for transgender people, as companies and as individuals, by participating in the public comment period on the proposed rule. 

The comment period is now open, and I would like to personally invite you to weigh in. We’re pleased to be able to share resources (developed by our partners at HRC) you can leverage to do so. 

You can comment as an individual on their site here

Companies can also comment, following the detailed instructions available here, leveraging these expanded talking points and this templated letter. 

A bit of background: Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. This landmark provision is the first of its kind to include protections from discrimination on the basis of sex in the context of healthcare. The definition of “on the basis of sex” has been consistently interpreted by numerous federal courts and agencies to include discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping and gender identity. HHS has accepted complaints of gender identity and sex stereotyping discrimination since 2012 and codified this interpretation in 2016. As proposed, the revised regulation deletes the definitions section of the regulation, which eliminates the guidance related to discrimination “on the basis of sex.” It further removes explicit protections from discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and association.

As proposed, the revised regulation deletes the definitions section of the regulation, which eliminates the guidance related to discrimination “on the basis of sex.” It further removes explicit protections from discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and association.

You have until August 13th to register your comments on this rule. I sincerely hope you will take a few moments of your time to stand up for your transgender family members, colleagues and friends. 

Thank you for your leadership,

Kathleen Sebelius 
21st United States Secretary of Health and Human Services 
Member, Global Advisory Board, Out Leadership

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