US president Donald Trump’s administration is “likely to have devastating consequences” for LGBT+ healthcare in the country, according to a damning new report by non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch.
The latest research published on Monday (July 23) concludes that LGBT+ people face “significant barriers” accessing healthcare, which it states is worsening as the Trump government rolls back anti-discrimination protections and introduces religious exemption laws.
“Many LGBT people already face difficulties obtaining accessible, inclusive health care,” the 34-page report reads.
“The Trump administration’s proposed rollback of antidiscrimination protections and expansion of religious exemptions are likely to have devastating consequences, exacerbating health disparities for a population that already experiences high rates of healthcare discrimination.”
The report – called “You Don’t Want Second Best’: Anti-LGBT Discrimination in US Health Care” – particularly highlights the plight of transgender people living in America.
In May 2017, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated that it would reverse regulations introduced by former president Barack Obama’s administration that prohibit the discrimination of trans people in federally funded healthcare programmes.
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The HSS has also suggested a number of other possible rules that could allow providers to refuse key services to LGBT+ people and women on moral or religious grounds.
The publication continues: “Many LGBT people have difficulty finding providers who are knowledgeable about their needs, encounter discrimination from insurers or providers, or delay or forego care because of concerns about how they will be treated.
“In the absence of federal legislation prohibiting healthcare discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT people are often left with little recourse when discrimination occurs.”
The Trump administration has also repeatedly attempted to ban transgender people from serving in the military. However, a federal judge blocked this proposed rule in June.
The report recommends that laws should be put in place to prevent the discrimination against LGBT+ people in healthcare, and that religious exemption laws need to be repealed.
It states: “Lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels should enact laws and regulations that expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in health care, and should repeal or revise sweeping religious exemption laws that allow insurers and providers to deny healthcare services to LGBT people and women seeking reproductive care.”
The research was carried out between August 2017 and July 2018, including 81 interviews related to healthcare discrimination.