The US Department of Health published a new rule Friday asserting that protection against “sex discrimination” in health care applies only to people who are biologically male or female. Focussed on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the final rule rolls back an Obama-era regulation which had added “gender identity” as grounds under which a person could suffer health care discrimination. Religious and conservative groups have welcomed the rule as protecting freedom of conscience and allowing federally funded medical practitioners and insurance companies to refuse the provision or coverage of transgender treatments. However, human rights groups are concerned the rule will leave trans-Americans without access to standard needed health care that is unrelated to sex change.
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