WASHINGTON, D.C.—PFLAG National—the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies— participated with a broad coalition of organizations in submitting more than 132,400 comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urging the federal government to retain existing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people and their families and to withdraw its proposed rule to eradicate the current Health Care Rights Law, known as Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Data proves the discrimination and disparities that LGBTQ+ people currently face, especially transgender people. I know: As a transgender immigrant of Latinx descent, I’ve lived that discrimination,” said Diego Miguel Sanchez, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships at PFLAG National. “The experience would only be exacerbated if these protections are erased. We are thrilled that PFLAG chapter members and supporters from across the country submitted their public comments, lifting voices from many diverse backgrounds to one common message: Preserve existing protections in healthcare, because our lives depend on it.”
The proposed rule would cost LGBTQ+ people and their families their access to healthcare and health insurance coverage for LGBTQ+ patients and people--and their families--across the country. The rollback would also negatively impact people who have had or will need abortion care and other reproductive health services; people whose first language is not English; people with HIV and AIDS; immigrants; people of color; and people with disabilities; many marginalized people would feel this impact across a variety of identities.
Section 1557 and the implementing regulations of 2016 disallow health insurance companies from discrimination in vehicles such as marketing practices and benefit design, and has been a literal lifeline for thousands of people. The new proposed rule seeks to excuse and exempt most health insurance plans from employing Section 1557’s nondiscrimination protections.
Sanchez emphatically stated, “PFLAG National and our families oppose the proposed rule to remove nondiscrimination protections currently included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and our hundreds of thousands of members across the country urge HHS to withdraw it.”
Participating organizations included ACLU; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Center for American Progress; Center for Constitutional Rights; Center for Reproductive Rights; CenterLink; Equality Federation; FORGE; In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda; Lambda Legal; NARAL Pro-Choice America; National Center for Transgender Equality; National Council of Jewish Women; National Health Law Program; National LGBTQ Task Force; National Partnership for Women & Families; National Women's Law Center; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need; The Leadership Conference Education Fund; TransChance Health; Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; and WHARR (Women's Health and Reproductive Rights).
PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their families, and allies. With over 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed. To learn more, visit pflag.org, like us on Facebook (/pflag), or follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or Instagram.