As a part of the health law, extending anti-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay and bisexual people has been postponed by the White House officials.
The drafting of the Affordable Care Act has been under pressure for sometime in the US. The officials are not able to decide how to include provision that the health insurers and providers must ensure that they treat patients equally, including on the basis of their sex and race. They are still confused to use the provision to bar bias based on sexual orientation.
AdvertisementIn the draft by the Department of Health and Human Services stated that"is mixed on whether existing federal nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as a part of their prohibitions of sex discrimination."
Jocelyn Samuels, director of HHS's Office for Civil Rights, said," The agency would seek public input on the issue of sexual orientation, and how to handle health providers whose religious beliefs clash with same-sex relationships. The administration has made clear its policy commitment to banning that discrimination against gays and lesbians. The law in this area is evolving."
Officials said, "The best way of ensuring that this rule includes the most robust set of protections supported by the courts on an ongoing basis."
"Insurers won't be allowed to restrict medically necessary medications and surgeries for transgender people that they would cover for other enrollees. Health providers who have gender-segregated facilities also will have to allow people to use facilities that match their gender identity," they added.
Lower courts have been skeptical in the past that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is covered by prohibitions on sex discrimination, as the federal officials noted.
Gay-rights activists see some Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decisions as supporting their case, however, they would continue to push for the extension.
"Obviously we would have preferred to have this in the proposed regulations, but we're extremely encouraged that they're committed to finding a way forward to expanding these protections," said Robin Maril, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign.
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