Health Care Discrimination
All people who need medical care should be able to see their doctor without worrying about being mistreated, harassed, or denied service outright. While not all 50 states have comprehensive non-discrimination policies in place, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helps address this issue by prohibiting health care providers and insurance companies from engaging in discrimination under Section 1557 of the health care rights law.
In May of 2019, the Health and Human Services Department issued a new proposed rule to dramatically revise the agency’s interpretation of Section 1557. The changes would remove explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people by eliminating specific nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
While Section 1557 continues to be challenged by the administration, as of today it remains in place. You should never be discriminated against in a health care setting, or when shopping for health insurance.
LGBTQ+ people face disturbing rates of health care discrimination—from harassment and humiliation by providers to being turned away by hospitals, pharmacists, and doctors. This survey data from Center for American Progress shows the types of discrimination that many LGBTQ+ people face when seeking health care.
If you or someone you know is experiencing trauma due to discrimination, click here to find your local LGBTQ+ community center for support.