Donald Trump is planning to reverse a piece of the Affordable Care Act that prevents physicians and hospitals from discriminating against transgender patients.
That’s right, the self-proclaimed ally of the LGBTQ community wants to make life more difficult for transgender people, who have unprecedented rates of discrimination already (and suicide numbers to accompany that). He wants to make it easier to discriminate against one of the most marginalized groups.
The proposed change will come from Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services “in the coming weeks or months,” according to The Hill.
The proposed rule is expected to roll back a controversial anti-discrimination provision buried within ObamaCare.
Religious providers say they expect the Trump administration’s rule would merely reinforce their right not to provide treatment that’s against their beliefs.
The news comes at an interesting time — a little more than two weeks after Trump abruptly announced a transgender military ban via Twitter. Since that time, top members of the military have expressed their opposition to the plan.
Trump, however, has doubled down on his trans ban, saying he’s “doing the military a great favor.”
“I have great respect for the community. I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community… I got a lot of votes. But the transgender, the military’s working on it now.”
Did you read that? All he cares about are the votes. Not the people.
He also claimed he was doing this for economic reasons, since healthcare for trans troops cost a few million dollars. Turns out discharging all our trans troops would cost approximately $960 million, according to the Palm Center, a think tank that has done a lot of research on LGBTQ issues relating to the military. So Trump was wrong about that, too.
This is part of a pattern for Trump, who has repeatedly issued orders and championed legislation that works against the LGBT community despite promising to “fight for” it during the campaign.
The removal of LGBT protections in Obamacare serves two purposes for Trump:
- It plays to his fundamentalist Christian base.
Evangelical leaders who have been fighting laws that keep them from discriminating against transgender people have also boasted about having unprecedented access to this President, and he has given them win after win. This is no different.
- This move also undoes a part of Obamacare. Trump has been unable to reverse the ACA through traditional legislative means, so this may be the next best way for him to undo his predecessor’s signature achievement. A victory on this front, while it would affect a relatively small group of people, would help him take away one more thing with Obama’s name on it.
Trump’s action is predictable but, unfortunately, its consequences are not. It could cause a lot of harm, not just to the patients who would be left out in the cold, but also our society at large, quickly becoming defined around the world by what’s happening from a White House under Republican control.
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