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House Health Leaders Praise Rollback of Trump Rule that Supported Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination Against Patients

Mar 8, 2023
Press Release

Yesterday, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard E. Neal (MA-01) wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in support of its proposal to rescind detrimental provisions from the 2019 Trump-era rule that would have allowed discrimination against health care patients, including those seeking abortion and gender-affirming care, in federally-funded programs under the guise of religious liberty.

“We support HHS’ partial rescission of the 2019 Rule because it aims to restore the balance between enforcing conscience laws and ensuring that individuals have unimpeded access to comprehensive health care services. Having access to health care services is critical, especially for certain communities such as racial and ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals who have historically faced barriers to access in our health care system, and often continue to face discrimination in access to care today,” the Members wrote.

The Biden-Harris administration’s proposed rule would partially rescind a rule—finalized by the Trump administration in 2019—that would have allowed health care providers to deny care for patients on the basis of a religious objection. Specifically, the 2019 rule redefined the type of care that may be refused and the individuals who are entitled to deny that care, including those who may only be tangentially involved in direct care (i.e., billing staff and receptionists). While multiple federal courts ultimately vacated the 2019 rule, it has yet to be rescinded.

“If the 2019 Rule had been in effect, it would have further expanded the ability of health care providers to deny gender-affirming care and other health care services to LGBTQ+ individuals, negatively impacting their health outcomes, especially for those individuals who face intersectional discrimination based on disability, and/or race and ethnicity, among other factors. Additionally, attacks on reproductive health care services have also been well documented,” the Members continued. “We support the 2023 NPRM that will rescind provisions of the 2019 Rule that would have led to more discrimination and would have further impeded access to health care services, including abortion and gender-affirming care.”

For the full text of the letter, click here