On Thursday the Obama administration proposed a ban on transgender discrimination in the health care system. When the proposed regulation is finalized there will be an expansion on the insurance coverage for gender transition. It will also deny healthcare facilities from denying transgender people access to health care services.
The proposal is part of broader rules by the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure anti-bias provisions. It is part of President Obama’s healthcare law. First the law specified that discrimination based on sex is illegal and that gender identity is included in the protective umbrella. Michael Silverman, the director of Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund said, “This is a huge step.”
This proposal comes amidst a wave of changes on social attitudes on gender and sexuality. Recently the Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriages. The new awareness has been brought with Olympian Bruce Jenner’s gender transition to female Caitlyn. The delayed rule also has a manual carrying prohibition on discrimination based on age, national origin, race, color, sex or disability.
Head of the HHS for Civil Rights, Jocelyn Samuels said that the rule doesn’t really require insurers to cover treatment of gender transition like surgery. However, insurers could face many questions in the near future about denying services to men who identify as women and women who identify as men.