Last month, the agency removed web pages that contained frequently asked questions about a law ensuring that trans people are covered by non-discrimination laws when seeking health care.

As if that wasn’t enough, HHS also announced preparations last week to rewrite a non-discrimination regulation so that it no longer recognizes transgender people.

Screenshots of the Section 1557 regulation FAQs regarding discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Sources: Internet Archive Wayback Machine (January 2017); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (August 2017)

While the Section 1557 regulation and FAQs about it simply interpret the law and give advice on how to comply, OCR’s continuous trimming of them sends a clear message that providers and insurance companies can freely deny needed care to transgender people.

This is unlikely to lead to a complete reversal of the progress made in recent years — for example, a survey of 2017 individual health plans in 16 states found that over 95 percent no longer had broad exclusions on transition-related health care.

How can you help?

Right now, the best way to help is by sharing your health care stories with NCTE. And if you’ve faced discrimination in health care, you can get legal help.

Harper Jean Tobin is the director of policy at NCTE.

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