ABC News reports a new policy by the Department of Health and Human Services will protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in health care.
The Trump administration had defined "sex" to mean the gender an individual was assigned at birth, which would exclude transgender people from being protected by the federal laws forbidding discrimination.
“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement obtained by ABC News. “Everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”
Becerra said the Biden administration policy will bring the department in line with a Supreme Court ruling in relation to a workplace discrimination case in 2020, establishing that federal laws against sex discrimination should also protect individuals who are gay or transgender.
The Trump administration, however, attempted to narrow the legal protections against health care discrimination, implementing rules that narrowly defined "sex" as biological gender, which were blocked from taking effect by a federal judge, despite Trump administration officials arguing the issue was separate from the employment case decided by the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration's action has essentially restored the policy set during former President Barack Obama's administration -- which President Biden served as vice president for both terms -- that included a prohibition on sex discrimination, but did not include the term "gender identity."
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