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Wolf Administration Condemns Trump Administration Rule that Strips Health Care Rights of Americans Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

June 14, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf and cabinet members of his health and human services agencies today condemned the Trump Administration’s final rule stripping Americans of their right to health care because of their sexual orientation and gender identity that was previously guaranteed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“This rule flies in the face of every policy and protection my administration has put in place,” Gov. Wolf said. “Changing an Affordable Care Act rule that includes provisions for non-discrimination based on sex to include only male and female genders is another attempt to dismantle the ACA and put our LGBTQ community’s well-being at greater risk by trying to delegitimize this vulnerable population. It is especially egregious to finalize a rule that could deny health care to anyone in the midst of a pandemic and on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting.”

“In a time when our nation and the world are facing an unprecedented pandemic, it is unconscionable that the Trump Administration would make such significant changes to our health care system that put the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “These actions not only put the LGBTQ community at risk, they put our entire health care system in jeopardy. These continuous attacks on the rights of transgender Americans must stop. Gov. Wolf has shown that protecting the rights of all Pennsylvanians is essential to our continued success and prosperity — the federal government should do the same.”

“The Trump administration’s consistent attempts to undermine the ACA are detrimental to the well-being of all Americans, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other factor,” said Commissioner Jessica Altman. “To release this rule on this day, the anniversary of lives lost at Pulse Nightclub, during Pride Month, makes their decision to rollback protections for the LGTBQ community all the more reprehensible. At a time when this country is so desperate for unity, this decision only sows more division. I, along with the entire Wolf administration, will continue to reject discrimination and defend the rights of all Pennsylvanians, no matter who they are or who they love.”

“By ending specific non-discrimination requirements for health services, the Trump Administration is allowing for medical professionals to deny vital, life-saving services and could result in health care that is ineffective or inappropriate for LGBTQ and other vulnerable individuals. This will only exacerbate the health problems for the LGBTQ and other communities,” said Secretary Teresa Miller. “As our nation faces a pandemic that is affecting people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds, we cannot create more barriers and inequitable access to medical care. It is our responsibility as public servants to lead in a way that uplifts and seeks to correct inequities among marginalized and underserved people. These attacks on human rights targeted towards transgender people are unacceptable and cruel, and we must do better.”

“As a member of Governor Wolf’s LGBT Workgroup, and in collaboration with our many LGBTQ partners, aging services providers, and stakeholders, the Department of Aging has made its commitment to diversity, increased cultural competency, and inclusion a major priority,” said Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres. “This rule is a shameful attempt to exclude a community that is already facing unique challenges and deserving of equal access to health care. Our department is proud to stand with the LGBTQ elders, and the entire LGBTQ community and advocate for protections they rightfully deserve.”

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