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Texas Lawmakers Respond to Trump’s Anti-LGBTQ Healthcare Proposal

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Rep. Mary Gonzalez (center), chair of Texas’ first LGBTQ Caucus, stood before the group to lead its first press conference at the Capitol in early February. The Caucus seeks to create awareness and advocate for queer Texans by backing pro-equality legislation and eradicating anti-LGBTQ propaganda.

The Texas House LGBTQ Caucus says it opposes the Trump Administration’s proposed rule to roll back the anti-discrimination protections under the Health Care Rights law. 

The 24 member caucus, made up of queer and ally state lawmakers, responded to the proposed revisions—which would limit the LGBTQ protections listed in the Affordable Care Act—via a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar on July 26. 

“We stand in strong opposition to rescinding the anti-discrimination protections under the Health Care Rights law,” the Caucus wrote. “These protections ensure that the LGBTQ+ community and Limited English Proficiency individuals have access to quality health care as well as protect women’s access to reproductive needs.” 

On June 14, the HHS proposed what it describes as “substantial revisions” to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in health programs and activities recieving federal financial assistance. The Trump Administration’s proposed changes to Section 1557 would limit protections for gender identity, access to abortion, and language access

The caucus said that existing provisions are essential to ensuring that people in the U.S. and their right to quality healthcare are protected, and enacting the proposed rule would put vulnerable communities at risk of discrimination.

“Someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion should never be a factor in their ability to receive medical care,” the Caucus wrote. “We are proud to support the anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act, and it would be an injustice to enact this proposed rule.” 

The letter to Azar was signed by 22 Texas House LGBTQ Caucus members, including signatures by the group’s founders Reps. Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso), Celia Israel (D-Austin), Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas), Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton), and Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood).

The 60-day public comment period on the proposed changes closes on August 13, 2019.  To comment on the issue, visit ProtectTransHealth.org

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart magazine.

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