Washington, DC – The Biden administration today proposed improvements in the way the Affordable Care Act is implemented to protect health consumers from discrimination.
The proposed rule addresses implementation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in health care settings, programs and activities. The proposal is part of the Biden administration’s attempts to build a more equitable health care system and restore protections rolled back under the Trump administration.
“As a health law organization dedicated to furthering access and health equity, we welcome these proposals and are eager to work with other advocates and the Biden administration to strengthen these nondiscrimination protections,” said NHeLP Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor. “NHeLP is proud to have helped craft Section 1557 as part of our work on the Affordable Care Act, and our work to implement it over the intervening years has revealed how essential these protections are in ensuring access to quality health care for everyone.”
Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination in health care programs and activities based on race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency and primary language), sex (including pregnancy status and related conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and sex characteristics, including intersex traits), age, and disability. It specifically bars discrimination in health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance; health programs administered by federal agencies; and ACA health insurance marketplaces and issuers that participate. The proposed rule effectively implements the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination protections, including protections for persons with pre-existing conditions and people who rely on federal health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.
“The Biden administration came into office pledging to create a more equitable and resilient health care system, and we are glad they recognize the importance of Section 1557 in advancing that work,” said Mara Youdelman, managing attorney of NHeLP’s DC office. “The National Health Law Program and our partners will carefully review and analyze the proposed rule and will comment on how to best implement it. We will also continue our work to educate the general public about Section 1557 and provide opportunities for individuals to weigh in about the impacts on their health.”
NHeLP’s team of policy and legal experts work on all aspects of Section 1557, but the organization is best known for its work on language-access issues and non-discriminatory insurance benefit design.
Andy DiAntonio | Director of Communications