One Colorado Statement on the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS/OCR) Proposed Changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act

Denver, CO — One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families released the following statement from Executive Director Daniel Ramos on the changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

“One Colorado strongly urges the Department of Health and Human Services to withdraw the proposed rule. The rule attempts to undo years of national public participation to establish these non-discriminations protections and will have a direct impact on LGBTQ people – especially transgender people – being able to access health care. We know that when people don’t feel safe coming out to their provider or experience other barriers to seeking services, health outcomes worsen. We’ve fought too hard and come too far for the Trump administration to keep LGBTQ people from getting the care that they need.”
One Colorado Executive Director Daniel Ramos

The proposed rule would severely threaten LGBTQ patients’ access to all forms of health care, create confusion among patients and providers about their rights and obligations, and promote discrimination. It could also encourage hospitals to deny care to LGBTQ people and enable insurance companies to deny transgender Americans’ coverage for health care services that they cover for non-transgender Americans. The rule would also make it harder for other people experiencing discrimination in health care to know and exercise their rights, including people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and people suffering from chronic health conditions, like HIV/AIDS. The state of Colorado passed the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) in 2008, which protects people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and transgender status in places of employment, housing, and public accomodation, including within medical settings. While Coloradans would still be protected from discrimination, this proposed rule would further create confusion between the application of state and federal law.

The public is encouraged to submit comments to oppose the implementation of this rule to HHS through August 13, 2019.