On August 12, 2019 IWHC submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to express our concerns with the proposed rule entitled “Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities.
To read the full comment, download the PDF.
The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) has, for 35 years, worked to promote human rights, health, and equality around the world. IWHC’s direct experience of partnering with leaders and organizations working on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in their communities and countries has emphasized the critical importance of removing barriers to health care access, including the need to work to ensure that no individual faces discrimination.
Health care is a human right and a health care provider’s personal beliefs should never determine the care that a patient receives. That is why IWHC strongly opposes the proposed elimination or rollback of critical protections guaranteed by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) and the 2016 Nondiscrimination in Health Programs or Activities final rule (“2016 final rule”). We demand that this NPRM be rescinded in its entirety. If enacted, this rule will roll back critical protections against discrimination in all aspects of health care.
This proposed rule could impose wide ranging harm, particularly falling hardest upon our most underserved populations who already struggle to access health care. The proposed rule is just the latest attack from the Trump-Pence administration on people seeking reproductive health care, including abortion, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), including immigrants, those living with disabilities, and people of color. Moreover, this rule would embolden compounding levels of discrimination against those who live at the intersection of these identities. The proposed rule is dangerous and contravenes the plain language of Section 1557, specifically, and the ACA broadly.
For the reasons detailed above, HHS and CMS should not finalize the proposed rule and redirect their efforts to advancing health care access and equity for all.