A federal judge on Monday blocked the
Trump administration's plan to eliminate transgender protections in
the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
The Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) rule change was set to take effect on Tuesday.
criticizes Trump's rollback of transgender protections in health
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. HHS's new
rule defines sex as “determined by biology.”
In his decision, U.S. District Judge
Frederic Block cited the Supreme Court's recent landmark decision in
Bostock v. Clayton. The high court in Bostock found
that sex discrimination as it relates to workplace protections
applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. Bostock
expanded the definition of sex in federal laws to include people who
identify as LGBT.
“The Court reiterates the same
practical concern it raised at oral arguments when the Supreme Court
announced a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and
reflect on the decision's impact,” Block wrote. “Since HHS has
been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the Court now imposes
The lawsuit, Walker v. Azar, was
filed in June by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's
largest LGBT rights advocate, and the BakerHostetler law firm.
Plaintiffs in the case are two transgender women of color: Tanya
Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentil. Both women said they have
experienced discrimination in the health care system.
“We are pleased the court recognized
this irrational rule for what it is: discrimination, plain and
simple,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. “LGBTQ
Americans deserve the health care that they need without fear of
mistreatment, harassment, or humiliation.”
Lambda Legal filed a separate lawsuit
challenging the rule change on June 22. A decision is pending.