AANP Statement on 2SLGBTQIA+ Healthcare Changes
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
June is Pride Month in the United States. This month, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized rule changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which maintains enforcement of federal civil rights laws on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex. These rule changes alter the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word “sex” as male or female and as determined by biology. Effectively, this significantly reduces access to healthcare for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community (the acronym for two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexed, asexual, agender, and ally community). Specifically, it allows healthcare providers and medical facilities to refuse care to transgender people.
Transgender individuals have long faced discrimination in health care. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians asserts that equal access to healthcare for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals is essential. As Naturopathic Physicians, our primary duty is to our patients and our communities. As healthcare providers with a deep understanding of the role of social determinants of health in creating access to comprehensive, whole-person medicine, we cannot rest until such access is equal for all. Any policies that allow discrimination in healthcare, especially related to access, are dangerous to public health and safety.
The United States has a long history of unequal distribution of health, with underserved populations clearly suffering worse health outcomes. At all times, and especially during a pandemic, we must rally around our most vulnerable populations to protect access to healthcare. Creating policies that allow healthcare to be denied to any underserved demographic is counterproductive and unacceptable.
Reducing disparities in healthcare access for those in the 2SLGBTQIA community is essential so all may embrace “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” as espoused by the Declaration of Independence. We urge the Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider recent discriminatory policy changes.