The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that it plans to redefine the terms of an Obama-era policy that kept health-care providers from discriminating against transgender patients. HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights Roger Severino said the agency is rewriting an Affordable Care Act regulation that prohibited health-care discrimination based on sex—in order to keep HHS regulations “more consistent” with other federal departments. “When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform,” said HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights Roger Severino. The Obama administration’s definition of nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sex included a person’s internal sense of being “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female,” Severino told The Washington Post. The National Center for Transgender Equality has said it will fight the proposed regulation. “It’s about the right of every American to be treated with dignity when they walk into an emergency room, meet a new doctor, or find the right insurance plan,” a spokeswoman said.
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