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The Trump administration, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, is moving to scrap vital protections for LGBT+ patients

Josh Milton April 24, 2020
Trump campaign hosting rally in anti-gay church to the surprise of no one

Donald Trump holds a rainbow flag given by a supporter during a 2016 campaign rally in Colorado. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Pockets of leaders around the world have used the coronavirus crisis to consolidate power and strike against vulnerable communities within their borders.

Joining the governments of Poland, Britain and Hungary, whose leaders have launched attacks against marginalized and vulnerable groups, is the US.

In the cratering, paranoiac throes of the pandemic, the Trump administration appears closer than ever before in scrapping an Obama-era policy that protected LGBT+ patients from discrimination, alarming health chiefs who stress that the virus poses an increased risk to queer folk.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is, according to Politico, close to finalising its rollback of Obamacare’s section 1557 provision that once safeguarded queer patients from suffering discrimination based on sex and gender identity.

Trump move to revoke protections will deter LGBT people seeking healthcare, visits warn. 

Activists and health chiefs fear that the skewering of the Affordable Care Act will allow public health providers and staffers to freely discriminate LGBT+ people, in what they see as a pointed attack against the community.

It will, activists warn, deter queer people sickened by the virus from getting aid.

In a matter of days, two sources familiar to the administration’s rule on the rewrite claimed, the revised regulation will be rolled out.

Leaving a vacuum in its wake, as without a clear federal law protecting LGBT+ people in healthcare, officials in courts and agencies will be idly left to decide how far interpretations of the law should go in protecting minority rights.

The Obama law has been slowly eroded by the Trump administration since 2016, when a federal judge locked protectins following a lawsuit.

Despite barbs directed at them by queer activists, department officials have defended the imminent changes looming overhead.

“As we have shown in our recent efforts to protect persons from disability and age discrimination during the pandemic, [Health and Human Services] will vigorously enforce civil rights laws as passed by Congress, before, during, and after any rulemaking,” Roger Severino, the HHS civil rights chief, said in a statement.

More: coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump, Trump, trump administration

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