By law, the government must consider public comments before implementing a new rule. A high number of comments forces the administration to study the issue further and it is the best illustration of public opposition. In addition to their joint comment, SAGE and ASA are asking their supporters to uphold section 1557 by submitting their own comments at www.protecttranshealth.org, a project of the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Law Center. The comment period ended on August 13, 2019.
Section 1557 of the healthcare law prohibits discrimination on the bases of age, race, color, disability, national origin and sex. The Obama administration interpreted the law as also barring discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping. Undermining these protections will put the lives of LGBT older people and particularly transgender elders in jeopardy by emboldening insurers, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other providers to withhold care.
“In May, SAGE condemned the administration for undermining the health and wellbeing of aging LGBT people with its attempt at undercutting safeguards for LGBT people in the Affordable Care Act,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE.
Adams, who will become the ASA board chair in 2020, continued, “Our joint comment with ASA emphasizes the need to maintain robust implementation of the protections of section 1557 of the ACA so that health and long-term care providers do not have an open invitation to discriminate against the patients they should be serving.”
Paul Downey, ASA Public Policy Committee Co-Chair, said, “This proposed rule change is discriminatory because it erodes critical protections for vulnerable Americans seeking health care. It represents yet another attempt by the administration to dismantle fundamental provisions of the Affordable Care Act to the detriment of people who need the coverage most.”
SAGE is the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at sageusa.org.
The American Society on Aging (ASA) is the go-to source to cultivate leadership, advance knowledge and strengthen the skills of our members and others who work with and on behalf of older adults. ASA offers professional education, outstanding publications, and online information and training resources that are nationally recognized. The breadth and depth of information available from ASA’s conference, webinars and publications, and the diversity of perspective and experience that characterizes ASA’s membership, are unmatched by any other professional organization in the field.