The Biden administration reversed a rule set up by former President Donald Trump which defined sex as a biological matter. Their rescinding of the rule is part of their effort to prevent supposed discrimination against transgendered people when it comes to healthcare practices.
A notice of the enforcement, though it’s not a binding federal rule, is a sign that the federal government has decided on a new interpretation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the provision which deals with non-discrimination. The new rule would ban discriminating against people based on their sexual identity rather than their biological sex as it was under Trump. The change is likely meant to strongarm states into providing hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery to Medicaid recipients.
Some Republican dominated state governments may choose to fight the matter in court for several reasons, not the least of which is the astronomical cost of such medical procedures. The determination of medical necessity will be greatly scrutinized in future battles about the controversial medical procedures in different states.
For the time being, religiously affiliated organizations such as hospitals and healthcare providers with religious objections are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This means that they cannot be coerced into performing transgender procedures by the federal government.
However, the looming Equality Act which is pending in the Senate and already endorsed by Biden, poses a major threat to the RFRA.
Author: Linda Edwards