The Department of Health and Human Services rewrote an Obama-era policy preventing health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients on Friday. Under the new rule, the HHS plans to make the definition of sex protections “more consistent” with other agencies.
“When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform,” HHS director Roger Severino told reporters on a call, adding that the Obama administration redefined nondiscrimination protections to include an individual’s identification as “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”
The HHS is the latest agency to roll back the federal protections of transgender patients authorized during the Obama years. On Wednesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a new policy allowing federally funded shelters to turn away transgender people for religious reasons. In March, the Defense Department imposed new restrictions on transgender troops’ ability to serve in the military, barring them from transitioning while in service.