The Trump administration is using a Texas lawsuit to justify rolling back protections for trans patients that was included in the 2010 Obamacare legislation, The New York Times reports.
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) banned any hospital, doctor, or insurance company who receives federal funding from discriminating against or denying services based on sex; the Obama administration made it clear in 2016 that provision included transgender and gender-nonconforming patients. Since nearly all insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals accept the government-funded programs Medicare and Medicaid, the protections covered just about every patient in the country. The law greatly expanded coverage for transgender people and also ensured that those who didn't conform to stereotypical gender markers, but weren't trans — possibly LGB or queer-identifying — could not be denied services.
Another benefit of the Obama-era rule on gender identity was that is it allowed trans patients to access numerous services, not just gender-confirmation surgery, but affordable hormones and mental health services opened up to millions.
These benefits and protections are heading for oblivion though, according to the Times. The Trump administration is pointing to a January 2017 ruling from a Texas federal judge who said the 2010 law did not cover gender identity or presentation.
“Congress did not understand ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity,’” Judge Reed O’Connor ruled. In the Affordable Care Act, he said, Congress “adopted the binary definition of sex.”
Trump's Health and Human Services department has drafted their own rule to rescind the protections, which is now with the White House for review. Trump's latest assault on trans people comes after he clumsily banned them from military service — an order temporarily blocked by courts — and removed guidance on accomodating trans youth in public schools.