NHeLP comments on proposed rulemaking for Section 1557 – Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act provides important protections against discrimination in health care programs and activities based on race, color, immigration status, language proficiency, sex, sex stereotypes, gender identity, age, or disability. However, the Trump administration is seeking to rollback regulations that help implement the law. In comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NHeLP urges the administration to withdraw the proposed rule and uphold strong nondiscrimination protections and enforcement.

The proposed rule would eliminate the current regulatory protections against discrimination based on gender identity and sex stereotyping. It would also block patients from obtaining critical health care information by no longer requiring non-English “taglines” telling patients that information is available in languages other than English, and increase the stigma and shame surrounding reproductive care (including abortion). Section 1557 and the 2016 implementing regulations prohibit health insurance companies from discriminating through marketing practices and benefit design. However, the proposed rule seeks to exempt most health insurance plans from Section 1557’s nondiscrimination protections. In addition, it eliminates the regulation prohibiting discriminatory benefit design and marketing. Eliminating these regulatory provisions may make it harder for people who experience discrimination to enforce their rights through administrative and judicial complaints.

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