LGBTQ healthcare face ‘significant barriers’ under Trump admin
Human Rights Watch warned that the administration of President Donald Trump is placing “significant barriers” accessing LGBTQ healthcare.
The report by the international non-governmental human rights organization noted that these are part of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back anti-discrimination protections and introduce religious exemption laws.
LGBTQ healthcare under attack
The HRW report, entitled “You Don’t Want Second Best,” noted the anti-LGBTQ discrimination being felt with US healthcare, especially with transgender people.
The 34-page report noted that, “Many LGBT people already face difficulties obtaining accessible, inclusive health care.”
“The Trump administration’s proposed rollback of antidiscrimination protections and expansion of religious exemptions are likely to have devastating consequences, exacerbating health disparities for a population that already experiences high rates of healthcare discrimination,” it warned.
The report refers to the effort of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reverse regulations done under former President Barack Obama prohibiting discrimination against transgender people.
The HHS signaled their intention last May 2017 and submitted a draft of the rollback of these regulations on federally funded healthcare programmes only April of this year.
Ryan Thoreson, an LGBTQ-rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report, said the HHS under Trump “is developing politicized rules.”
Protection of LGBTQ healthcare
To protect LGBTQ healthcare, the report recommended that laws be instituted to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ people from accessing proper healthcare, as well as a repeal of religious exemption laws.
“Lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels should enact laws and regulations that expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in health care, and should repeal or revise sweeping religious exemption laws that allow insurers and providers to deny healthcare services to LGBT people and women seeking reproductive care,” the report noted.
“Many LGBT people have difficulty finding providers who are knowledgeable about their needs, encounter discrimination from insurers or providers, or delay or forego care because of concerns about how they will be treated,” the report warned.
It added: “In the absence of federal legislation prohibiting healthcare discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT people are often left with little recourse when discrimination occurs.”
Thoreson said, “When LGBT people seek medical care, the oath to do no harm too often gives way to judgment and discrimination. Lawmakers need to make clear that patients come first, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Carried out between August 2017 and July 2018, the report includes 81 interviews with LGBTQ people that established healthcare discrimination.
Trump admin targets LGBTQ community
Aside from these rollbacks, the Trump administration officially revoked guidance protecting transgender students in public schools.
Likewise, they also tried to ban transgender people from being part of the military– but a federal judge blocked this proposal last June.
In May, they reversed the rules allowing transgender prisoners to use facilities– from bathrooms to cell blocks– corresponding to their gender identity.
In 2017, the Center for American Progress noted that eight percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, as well as 29 percent of transgender people reported cases of healthcare provider discrimination.
In the US, 37 states don’t have laws that protect LGBTQ patients from discrimination. Ten states don’t include transition-related care in their Medicaid coverage.