Former Vice President Joe Biden on
Friday criticized a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
rule that rolls back transgender protections in the Affordable Care
Act, also known as Obamacare.
While the rule was widely anticipated,
it was released on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub
shootings that took 49 lives and during Pride Month.
“This action is unconscionable –
and to do so during Pride Month, on the fourth anniversary of the
deadly terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub that claimed 48 lives,
many of them members of the LGBTQ+ community, is despicable,”
Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, said in a
HHS's rule reverses an Obama-era
regulation that expanded the definition of sex as it relates to
discrimination in health care to include gender identity.
The new policy defines sex to be based
on “the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as
determined by biology.”
A federal judge in 2016 blocked the
federal government from enforcing the Obama-era rule and the Trump
administration failed to appeal the decision. Friday's implementation
simply made official a de facto policy.
Advocates also criticized the
administration for implementing the rule change during the
coronavirus pandemic and said that they worried it could lead to
transgender people being denied critical health care as COVID-19
cases surge in many parts of the country.