On this day, the fourth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, during LGBTQ+ Pride month, at a time of an unprecedented global health pandemic, and during a moment in history where communities are coming together to challenge systems that perpetuate racism and violence, the Trump Administration launched a calculated attack on the lives of LGBTQ+ people. Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized drastic changes to the Health Care Rights Law, also known as Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The changes take away vital protections put in place to ensure healthcare access to individuals regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
“This discriminatory rule would allow healthcare providers to deny access for transgender people to receive services,” said Taylor Small, director of health and wellness, Pride Center of Vermont. “This means that we can be refused care for a checkup at our doctor’s office, or denied treatment based simply on gender identity. In turn, this could allow insurance agencies to not cover procedures for our transgender community. The barriers to care are already insurmountable for folks in our community, and this rule makes it even worse.”
“If we’ve learned anything during this global pandemic it’s the importance of a safety net. With millions out of work and LGBTQ+ people feeling the impacts of increased isolation and economic stress, it is cruel and dangerous to add barriers to healthcare at a time when people are struggling to meet our basic needs,” said Mike Bensel, executive director, Pride Center of Vermont.
Pride Center of Vermont stands with LGBTQ+ Vermonters against discrimination in healthcare. We work with providers to create comprehensive, accessible, and affirming services throughout the state. For a full list of LGBTQ+ affirming providers, please visit VDHP. If you experience discrimination through your healthcare provider please contact Pride Center of Vermont’s SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program.