The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) contains language prohibiting discrimination in health care based on sex, which was expanded under a 2016 rule by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include gender identity. Now the Trump HHS has proposed reversing that rule and confining ACA anti-discrimination protections to only the physical definition of sex.


OCR Director Roger Severino

The proposed rule was issued by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) this past Friday and now must undergo a 60-day public commentary period.

When the rule was announced, a reporter asked OCR Director Roger Severino what was changing, and he answered: “We’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex.”

The Obama rule, however, had already been curtailed by a federal judge in Texas and was never allowed to take effect.

The rule is similar to actions taken by the Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) when, early on, it issued a document confining the the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the physical definition of sex, a stance at odds with the more expansive view of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).