March 3, 2009

Transgender Advocacy Group Praises President Obama's Move to Rescind Harmful Bush Administration Health Care Regulation

Regulation Allows Discrimination Against Transgender People Seeking Health Care

NEW YORK - Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) applauds the Obama administration's move to rescind a health regulation that could drastically hinder transgender people's ability to get health care, including basic primary care, counseling and information necessary to make decisions about their health. The Department of Health and Human Services issued the regulation last December shortly before former President George W. Bush left office.

"Transgender people experience tremendous hostility and discrimination in the health care setting," Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund executive director Michael Silverman said.  "We applaud President Obama for moving so quickly to rescind this regulation, which leaves transgender patients extremely vulnerable in the health care setting."

Under the rule, even receptionists, insurance claims managers and other people who are only marginally related to providing health care, are allowed to refuse to provide information, referrals and other care based on their religious or moral beliefs.

TLDEF works to improve access to care for transgender people through its Access to Health Care Program and community organizing project, the Transgender Health Initiative of New York.  Health Initiative members are currently working with representatives of the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation in an effort to improve access to care for transgender people at New York City's public hospitals.