Action Alert: Stop the Trump administration from undermining healthcare rights law

The Trump administration is attempting to undermine enforcement of nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act. These efforts will especially harm trans people, the LGBTQ+ community, patients who speak languages other than English, and people who need access to abortion services.

The ACA’s landmark nondiscrimination provision, known as Section 1557 or the Health Care Rights Law, protects patients from discrimination based on of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. 

We encourage individuals and groups to submit comments with the Federal Register opposing the rollback of these important legal protections. Comments are due August 13.

The Trump administration is proposing rules that would reinterpret Section 1557 by:

  • exempting a broad number of healthcare programs and entities from having to comply with Section 1557’s nondiscrimination provisions;
  • eliminating nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ persons from regulations;
  • ending provisions that ensure people who speak languages other than English receive critical notices in the language they speak; 
  • removing protections against health plan designs that discriminate against people with serious or chronic health conditions. 

Discrimination has no place in healthcare. Rolling back section 1557 would allow discrimination and stereotyping to override patient care. This will endanger the health and lives of many New Mexicans and create needless confusion for providers and patients alike. 

To ensure your comment is accepted, please make sure your comment has at least one-third original text. You can submit your comment here:http://eqnm.org/save1557

*Your comment will submitted via Equality NM. EQNM, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, and Southwest Women’s Law Center will have access to your comment and contact information.

Sample content for your public comment

  • Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. This proposed rule attempts to change the administrative implementation of Section 1557 in a way that is contrary to the plain language of the law.
  • New Mexico has some of the highest rates of residents who identify as transgender in the country. In many parts of the state there are areas where only one hospital or health provider could result in less access to healthcare for transgender people. This would result in some traveling far distances to receive critical care, while others may simply not receive any medical care. It is important that nondiscrimination protections are in place for healthcare providers to ensure that patients can access the same care provided to all, no matter who they are. These protections are fundamental for LGBTQ+ patients to be able to access the care they need. 
  • In New Mexico, 29% of respondents experienced a problem last year with their insurance related to being transgender, such as being denied coverage for care related to gender transition or being denied coverage for routine care because they were transgender.
  • Sex discrimination in health care has a disproportionate impact on women of color, LGBTQ+ people and individuals living at the intersections of multiple identities—resulting in them paying more for healthcare, receiving improper diagnoses at higher rates, being provided less effective treatments and sometimes being denied care altogether. The inability to access needed healthcare services could further exacerbate health disparities.
  • Discrimination has no place in healthcare. The delivery of healthcare services in the United States should be premised upon the medical needs of the people, and should not be obstructed by the personal beliefs or ideologies of their healthcare providers.
  • Discrimination on the basis of national origin, which encompasses discrimination on the basis of language, creates unequal access to healthcare. Without meaningful access, millions of individuals will be excluded from programs and services they are legally entitled to, including hundreds of thousands here in New Mexico.

Overturning Affordable Care Act would leave over 300,000 New Mexicans without healthcare coverage

In a change of course, Trump administration says entire ACA should be struck down as unconstitutional

ALBUQUERQUE—This week the Trump administration announced that it agrees with a federal judge in Texas that the entire Affordable Care Act should be invalidated. Overturning the ACA would impact tens of millions of people who rely on the nine-year-old law for health insurance; in New Mexico, hundreds of thousands of residents would have their healthcare coverage stripped away.

In a significant change of course, on Monday night, President Trump’s Justice Department notified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where an appeal is pending in the case, Texas v. United States, that it would file a legal brief arguing that the entire act should be struck down as unconstitutional. A coalition of states is appealing the ruling and asking the appellate court to uphold the ACA.

“It’s shocking that President Trump and the Department of Justice intend to rip away access to healthcare for millions of people across the U.S. and hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans,” said William Townley, attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “Overturning the Affordable Care Act would damage the entire healthcare system, especially for low-income families. Healthcare coverage will become unaffordable for many New Mexicans, pricing them out of the healthcare system and blocking access to medical care.”

The Affordable Care Act provides coverage for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans. An immediate termination of coverage for so many people has far-reaching and possibly irrevocable consequences in New Mexico.

  • Nearly 300,000 New Mexicans would lose their healthcare coverage through Medicaid expansion or coverage they’ve purchased on the Health Insurance Exchange;
  • Young adults would no longer be able to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26;
  • Small business would lose tax credits that make it affordable to provide healthcare for their employees;
  • Insurance companies would be allowed to deny coverage for those who are suffering from pre-existing conditions; and
  • New Mexico’s economy would be threatened—Medicaid expansion has provided financial security for over 250,000 adults and has brought in federal funding that directly supports healthcare jobs and the healthcare sector overall.

“Healthcare coverage is a lifeline for millions of people across the country,” said Townley. “We should be finding ways to improve access to quality and affordable care rather than making devastating cuts to healthcare.”