Freedom of religion is important, which is why it is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate against others, or to refuse them care.
Existing laws already allow health care providers to put their religious beliefs before patient care. This proposed interpretation would expand those laws in new ways. The LGBTQ community, women, and other people could be at great risk.
If strong, clear rules prohibiting discrimination based on religion are eliminated, it will lead to confusion, unequal access, and potential rollbacks of landmark progress in health coverage and care, particularly for women and LGBTQ patients.
On Friday May 24, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a new regulation that will jeopardize the health and well being of vulnerable populations such as the LGBTQ community.
The proposed regulation advises providers and insurers to ignore Section 1557 of the Health Care Rights Law, a part of the Affordable Care Act that bans gender discrimination. This proposed regulation would also undermine the quality of care for many other minority groups, while increasing litigation costs for providers.
LGBTQ people already face disturbing rates of health care discrimination including harassment and denials of care, and often avoid doctor’s offices out of fear of discrimination. LGBTQ community centers continually work to overcome stigmas and discrimination, and this policy will significantly increase the time they spend helping individuals find alternative care.
There will be a public comment period before the revision goes into effect. This is your opportunity to tell the administration why you oppose health care discrimination.