NASTAD Denounces Roll Back of Non-Discrimination Protections

By Kyle Taylor June 15, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
June 15, 2020 

CONTACT: 
Kyle Taylor, Director, Communications, NASTAD 
ktaylor@NASTAD.org

NASTAD Denounces Roll Back of Non-Discrimination Protections 

WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized its revisions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) 1557 regulation, making sweeping changes that eliminate important protections across healthcare access and insurance. With cruel precision, the rule removes requirements for healthcare providers to provide access to services for LGBTQ populations and severely limits requirements for plans to provide non-discriminatory benefit plan designs.  

“To put out a rule that will disproportionately impact vulnerable populations during a pandemic where we are seeing access and outcome disparities across familiar racial and socioeconomic status lines is unconscionable” noted NASTAD Executive Director, Stephen Lee.  “The ACA’s non-discrimination protections were an important step to create equitable access to care, treatment, and insurance and have particularly benefited people living with and at risk for HIV and hepatitis and LGBTQ communities. A core of our public health priorities must be to address health disparities by reforming the systems that have exacerbated them, and this rule does just the opposite.” 

The rule rolls back several non-discrimination protections, including: significantly narrowing the covered entities subject to the rule; removing prohibitions on discrimination based on gender identify and sexual orientation; creating stronger religious exemptions; and removing language access requirements. 

“We will not end the HIV and hepatitis epidemics without commitment to health equity and to laws and policies that include non-discrimination protections. Indeed, rules like this will exacerbate stigma and hamper our efforts to end new infections. If this Administration is serious about its Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, it must embrace federal policies that will help it to succeed,” Lee concluded.  

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About NASTAD 

Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a leading non-partisan non-profit association that represents public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the U.S. Our singular mission is to end the intersecting epidemics of HIV, viral hepatitis, and related conditions. We do this work by strengthening governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.