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State Insurance Commissioners Condemn Trump Administration Attack on Transgender Health Care

The chief insurance regulators of 17 states and the District of Columbia--led by California’s Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara--have condemned a Trump administration proposal to roll back legal protections for transgender people accessing health care.

Announced in May, the rollback would undermine legal protections within the Affordable Care Act prohibiting discrimination against transgender people by health insurers and health care providers. Since 2012, federal courts have consistently declared exclusions in private and public insurance plans illegal under the ACA. 19 states and the District of Columbia have prohibited the use of these discriminatory exclusions, and only 8 states still enforce such exclusions in their Medicaid programs.

Signed by officials from California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, the letter reads in part:

“We are committed to prohibiting discrimination in our states and are deeply concerned about the proposed rule’s impact on the companies we regulate and consumers nationwide. For these reasons, we urge you to abandon the proposed rule’s changes regarding the unfair treatment of transgender consumers. In its current form, the rule would undermine the civil rights protections for millions of consumers, generate confusion, and negatively affect state insurance markets.”

According to the US Transgender Survey, one in four transgender people has faced discriminatory mistreatment from their insurance carrier within the last year. Transgender people are three times as likely to be unemployed as their peers, leading them to be more likely to lack insurance coverage and live beneath the federal poverty line.

“This proposal is an blatant attempt to undermine the civil rights of millions of Americans,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s more important than ever that officials and regulators throughout state and federal government defend equitable and life-saving health care access and coverage. We thank these officials for sounding the alarm on the massive potential for harm posed by this regulation and for their continuing efforts to protect transgender consumers in their states.”

“State insurance commissioners have long been on the front lines of protecting transgender consumers and know that these protections are life-saving for millions of people and their families,” said Katie Keith, Steering Committee Member of Out2Enroll. “The Trump administration should heed their warning that the latest proposed rule will undermine access to health coverage and care for transgender consumers, cause confusion and uncertainty, and hurt state insurance markets.”

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