Screen Readers Skip to Content

HHS Rule Will Reverse Nondiscrimination Protections in Health Care for Over 1.5 Million Transgender People

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: 18th May 2020
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Transgender News Publications

Summary: HHS expected to announce final rule that reverses federal protections prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in health care.


Main Document

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to announce a final rule in the coming weeks that reverses federal protections prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in health care.

The regulation could create added barriers to accessing health care for an estimated 1.4 million adults and 150,000 youth who identify as transgender in the U.S., including the significant number who have underlying health conditions that put them at particular risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.

Recent research from the Williams Institute found that an estimated 320,000 transgender adults have underlying health conditions that could increase their risk for COVID-19-related illness. This includes;

In addition, an estimated 217,000 transgender people are age 65 and older.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

"Our research finds that transgender people experience health disparities compared to cisgender people and often lack access to health care," said Jody L. Herman, Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. "They also face persistent discrimination in health care settings, which is a concern for many transgender adults."

"The changes to this rule could further harm transgender people's health care access at a time when they face serious challenges related to COVID-19," said Herman.

No federal statute expressly protects transgender people from discrimination in health care. The new rule will remove from HHS regulations protections that were guaranteed under the agency's former interpretation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 bans sex discrimination in federally funded health care. The original regulation stated that the law's ban on sex discrimination applies to discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity, consistent with numerous court decisions.

The Supreme Court is poised to address the breadth of sex discrimination protections in employment discrimination laws during its current term, which could affect the validity of the new HHS interpretation.

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest Transgender News Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to Transgender News that includes:

Dietary Supplement Use in Transmasculine People thumbnail image.
Study highlights the need for population-level research on the nutritional needs of transgender people.
Publish Date: 25th Mar 2024
Sex and gender minorities experience multiple axes of marginalization and oppression in the contemporary academy. thumbnail image
Transgender, and family members of transgender, scientists describe what it is like to be a transgender person in STEMM.
Publish Date: 14th Mar 2024
Psychiatric Care of Transgender and Gender Diverse People thumbnail image.
The gender minority stress and resilience model can help psychiatrists understand and address the mental health challenges this population experiences.
Publish Date: 8th Mar 2024
Transgender Women Can Still Get Prostate Cancer thumbnail image.
Study finds prostate cancer occurs in transgender women more frequently than published accounts might suggest with about 14 prostate cancer cases per 10,000 transgender women.
Publish Date: 29th Apr 2023 - Updated: 30th Apr 2023


1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.



• (APA): The Williams Institute. (2020, May 18). HHS Rule Will Reverse Nondiscrimination Protections in Health Care for Over 1.5 Million Transgender People. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/news/transgender/902.php


• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/news/transgender/902.php">HHS Rule Will Reverse Nondiscrimination Protections in Health Care for Over 1.5 Million Transgender People</a>