STAT, September 5, 2017
Usha Lee McFarling


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[...] Republicans in Congress have not been able to overturn the Affordable Care Act — at least, not yet. But the Trump administration is working to revise a section of the law that says federally funded health programs cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.

The Obama administration made clear that this provision required states to cover transgender care through their Medicaid programs. Now, however, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has told a federal court that he’s reworking the rule and won’t enforce it in the meantime.

Already, some states have defied the Obama directive and specifically excluded transgender care from their Medicaid coverage. And Wisconsin, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, and Nebraska are teaming up with Christian health care providers to challenge the anti-discrimination rule in federal court. (It’s in response to this case that Price filed the motion in May indicating that he is revising the regulation.)

Price’s stated goal: to strike down rules that cause “regulatory or economic burdens.” The administration already has made it clear that it views transgender surgeries as a heavy burden; in July, Trump cited the cost of that care as a primary reason for barring transgender people from serving in the military.

The rewrite now underway could free states to refuse to cover hormones, counseling, and surgery for transgender men and women. [...]

health care finance health care reform health law policy lgbtq medicaremedicaid public health regulation