An organization representing over 60 Catholic archdioceses has filed a claim in federal court against a new Obamacare regulation that makes it illegal for hospitals, religious orders, and faith-based employers to deny performing sex reassignments procedures.
On January 1, 2017, a new Department of Health and Human Services regulation of the Affordable Care Act will require all health providers, insurances, and employers to cover or offer a broad range of transgender reassignment surgeries and procedures. The regulation was passed in May without giving religious exemptions to faith-based hospitals or religious employers that do not agree with transgenderism.
The Diocese of Fargo, Catholic Charities of North Dakota and the Catholic Benefits Association -an organization that represents over 880 Catholic employers, 5 thousand parishes and 90 thousand employees- filed the complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief Wednesday.
The mandate was approved in May, banning discrimination against trans people in health care and insurance in the United States. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops presented their concerns during the public comment period, but the new regulation will not allow discrimination of any kind.
Institutions and individuals who fail to comply with the regulation could face consequences such as loss of Medicaid or Medicare funding, triple compensatory damages or civil penalties.
The CBA lawsuit seeks protection for hospitals, medical providers, dioceses, religious orders and closely-held Catholic business from the HHS mandate. The CBA has also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order.
Nationwide coverage for transition-related care
The 2010 Affordable Care Act prohibited discrimination in federally funded health programs based on race, national origin, age, disability, and sex. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulation makes it clear that trans people are protected by the ACA.
The new mandate includes health insurance coverage for trans people and makes it illegal to categorically exclude all gender transition-related health care coverage, often seen in private health insurance plans as well in state Medicaid, Indian Health Service, and Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Plans will have to cover services for transgender people if they offer those services to non-transgender individuals and the procedure can only be denied for a valid reason, such as scientifically supported reason, explains the official website for trans equality in the U.S.
The following procedures are expected to be covered under the new regulation: orchiectomy (removal of testicles), penectomy (removal of penis), clitoroplasty (creation of clitoris), labiaplasty (creation of labia), vaginoplasty (creation of vagina), hysterectomy (removal of uterus), phalloplasty (creation of penis), metoidioplasty (creation of penis, using clitoris), breast reduction and many other procedures related to transgender health care.
The regulation will apply to the majority of health insurance plans, including plans sold on the state and federal exchanges or any plan sold by a company with a federal contract or that is receiving federal funds. Some private plans that are not linked to federal funds may not be covered.
Although the regulation does not apply to non-HHS federal health programs -including veterans and military health care- agencies are responsible for applying Section 1557 to their programs, which calls for nondiscrimination.
Source: The Christian Post