The Trump White House is continuing to remain tight-lipped on whether the administration would repeal an Obamacare rule barring medical practitioners from denying health care to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery.
Speaking During the White House daily briefing Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar, appeared to dodge questions relating to the issue that has such an impact on the LGBTI community.
Despite being a topic of which he should be aware of, the health secretary continued to claim that he was unaware of the issue in response to a question from the Washington Blade.
“I’m not familiar with that particular issue … I’m going to talk about drug prices. I’m not familiar with that. I’ll look into that when I get back over to the department,” Azar stated.
While the Obama-era legislation interpreted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars discrimination in health care on the basis of sex, to bar refusal of health care services to transgender people based on their gender identity, including transition-related care such as gender reassignment surgery, the Trump administration has hinted at revoking such legislation.
Ian Thompson, who is the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that he believes Azar knows more than he’s saying about the proposed plan to kill the Obamacare rule.
“Secretary Azar can claim ignorance, but it rings hollow,” Thompson said. “Under President Trump, extreme opponents of transgender people and reproductive health care have been given free rein at HHS. No one should live in fear of being denied health care because of who they are.”
Azar’s latest comments follow recent reports of a Health & Human Services spokesperson stated that the department had “no announcements to share” on whether the rule would be repealed.