08.13.19

Reps. Lee, Kennedy, DeGette Lead 125 House Democrats in Denouncing Trump’s Health Care Rights Law Rollback

Washington, D.C. – Today, 125 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman Joe Kennedy, and Congresswoman Diana DeGette, sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar asking him to withdraw a proposed rule that would roll back key provisions of the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rule would embolden widespread discrimination in health care, including by allowing insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers and entities to deny patients care because of who they are, what language they speak, their sexual orientation or gender identity, or because of they’re trying to access their constitutionally-protected right to an abortion.  

“Let me be clear: patient care should be determined by what’s best for the patient, not a provider’s personal beliefs,” said Congresswoman Lee. “This proposed rule would place even more barriers to care for groups who need it the most, especially LGBTQ+ people, people needing reproductive health care, those whose first language is not English, people of color, and people with disabilities. These communities already face too many barriers to accessing quality, affordable health care and we cannot allow the Trump Administration to deny them the care they deserve.”

“The Trump Administration is determined to make health care in this country a privilege, a luxury, a commodity for those deemed worthy of care,” said Congressman Kennedy. “This new rule gives license to discriminate in the one place that should be about health and health alone: a doctor’s office. I’m proud to join my colleagues in our continued efforts to defend the health care of American families from President Trump’s attacks.”

“No one should be denied the health care they need because of who they are, who they love, or because they’ve previously had an abortion,” said Congresswoman DeGette. “This proposed rule is yet another egregious attack on the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and the millions of Americans who’ve exercised their constitutionally-protected right to reproductive care.”

In the letter, the members highlight that the proposed rule to roll back the provisions of the Health Care Rights Law under the ACA would harm patients and increase health disparities for the LGBTQ+ community, those seeking reproductive care and others. The LGBTQ+ community is already more likely to be uninsured or under-insured and face discrimination when seeking care. If this rule is finalized, an estimated two million transgender patients could be unlawfully denied access to the care they need or forego care entirely for fear of discrimination. Women of color and low-income communities, who also already face discrimination at disproportionate rates, could be denied the appropriate and life-saving care they deserve under the auspices of religious objection. 

Additionally, the proposed rule signals an abrogation of HHS’s and the Office of Civil Rights’ duty to faithfully enforce the Health Care Rights Law and protect patients from discrimination by limiting the enforcement mechanisms available for any individual discriminated under the grounds protected by the Health Care Rights Law.

The members are calling for the proposed rule to be withdrawn in its entirety. 

The letter was also signed by Bill Foster, Jackie Speier, Susan Wild, Lloyd Doggett, Ann Kirkpatrick, Sean Casten, Ayanna Pressley, Bobby Rush, TJ Cox, Ro Khanna, Jan Schakowsky, Andy Levin, Grace Napolitano, Ruben Gallego, Mark Pocan, Alan Lowenthal, Scott Peters, Adriano Espaillat, Lois Frankel, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Susan Davis, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Derek Kilmer, Jennifer Wexton, Brian Higgins, Julia Brownley, Robin Kelly, Donna Shalala, Veronica Escobar, José Serrano, Steven Cohen, Eliot Engel, Betty McCollum, Jim Himes, Doris Matsui, Juan Vargas, Suzanne Bonamici, Don Beyer, Judy Chu, André Carson, Ted Lieu, Tony Cárdenas, Kathy Castor, Deb Haaland, Bradley Schneider, Nydia Velázquez, Peter Welch, Peter DeFazio, Jimmy Gomez, Albio Sires, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Madeleine Dean, Jamie Raskin, Jerry Nadler, Jim McGovern, Linda Sánchez, Ted Deutch, Grace Meng, Chellie Pingree, Nita Lowey, Brad Sherman, Katherine Clark, Ann McLane Kuster, Susie Lee, Lizzie Fletcher, Norma Torres, Harley Rouda, David Scott, Elijah Cummings, Rosa DeLauro, Kurt Schrader, Kathleen Rice, Adam Smith, Dina Titus, Tim Ryan, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Greg Stanton, Dutch Ruppersberger, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Earl Blumenauer, Raúl Grijalva, David Cicilline, Katie Hill, Adam Smith, Paul Tonko, Jimmy Panetta, Carolyn Maloney, Gwen Moore, Al Green, Joe Courtney, Hank Johnson, Salud Carbajal, Brenda Lawrence, Karen Bass, Matt Cartwright, Sylvia Garcia, Filemon Vela, John Lewis, Alcee Hastings, Danny Davis, Donald Payne Jr., John Larson, Darren Soto, Katie Porter, Sean Patrick Maloney, John Sarbanes, Rashida Tlaib, Zoe Lofgren, Emanuel Cleaver, Yvette Clark, John Yarmuth, Joe Neguse, Lucille Roybal-Allard, G.K. Butterfield, Stephen Lynch, Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Mark DeSaulnier, William Keating, Gilbert Cisneros, Maxine Waters, Seth Moulton, Josh Gottheimer, and Charlie Crist.

The full text can be found here.

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