(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, led 15 of their colleagues in commenting on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed rule prohibiting discrimination in health care under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
In their letter, the Senators applauded the Biden Administration for restoring and expanding key nondiscrimination protections after the Trump Administration dismantled protections for LGBTQIA+ patients, women, people whose primary language is not English, and others—and urged HHS to further strengthen protections for people with disabilities, trans people, and those seeking care for pregnancy and related conditions.
“This proposal is an important step forward to help ensure no one in our country has their health care undermined by discrimination or bigotry, and we urge the Department to further strengthen protections for people with disabilities, trans people, and people seeking to access care for pregnancy, infertility, or related conditions,” wrote the Senators.
Specifically, the Senators urged HHS to take additional steps to strengthen protections for people with disabilities and trans patients, and explicitly prohibit discrimination against patients because of their medical history or for seeking out services like abortion, contraception, miscarriage management, fertility care, or maternity care, particularly in light of the Dobbs decision and ongoing attacks on Americans’ reproductive rights.
“Recent and ongoing threats to health care access underscore why eliminating discrimination in health care programs and activities remains such an essential goal. The Supreme Court’s devastating decision in Dobbs upended abortion rights and left tens of millions of women without access to critical, lifesaving care and in danger of grave health consequences. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated existing health inequities, particularly in communities of color and for people with disabilities. And the transgender community is facing a barrage of discriminatory attacks that deny patients access to gender-affirming care and create barriers to treatment,” the Senators stated. “In the face of such obstacles, it is as important as ever that the Administration work to ensure everyone has the right to get the care they need—and undo the harm caused to patients by the Trump Administration’s rule.”
The comment letter, led by Senators Murray, Baldwin, and Wyden was also signed by Senators Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cantwell, Heinrich, Hirono, Klobuchar, Markey, Menendez, Merkley, Padilla, Reed, Sanders, Smith, and Warren.
Senator Murray fought back against the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back these critical nondiscrimination protections for patients—leading her colleagues in opposing the Trump Administration’s harmful rule implementing Section 1557 at every step of the way.
The Senators’ full letter is available HERE.