08.15.17

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Demands Answers from Trump Administration Following Repeated Actions to Undermine, Sow Confusion Around Anti-Discrimination Protections in Health Care

Under Secretary Price, HHS continues to remove guidance, delay enforcement of Section 1557; Secretary Price has failed to respond to questions from Senate Democrats 

In new letter, Baldwin and Senate Democrats say Secretary Price is sending “concerning signals” about whether Trump Administration will protect individuals against discrimination 


WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a group of 15 Senate Democrats, led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), in calling again on Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to explain his plans for enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. Rather than enforcing this provision protecting individuals from discrimination, the Trump Administration has delayed litigation to enforce Section 1557 and repeatedly removed language in sections of the HHS webpage about Section 1557 regulations, including language clarifying that discrimination based on gender identity and sex stereotyping constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex.

“The Department’s removal of language indicating support for prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination as a matter of policy would be disturbing on its face alone, but it is especially concerning given the divisive and harmful rhetoric that President Trump has used and encouraged,” the Senators wrote. “As Secretary of HHS, we ask that you work to ensure your agency respects all people, and continues to serve everyone, including women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, people who communicate in a language other than English, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and people of all religious backgrounds and beliefs, rather than roll back discrimination protections.”

In their letter, the Senators call on Secretary Price to answer the following questions by August 25 and before making any changes to the existing section 1557 regulations:

  1. Does HHS still agree that discrimination based on stereotypical ideas about gender is unlawful sex discrimination?
  2. Does HHS still support prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination as a matter of policy?
  3. Please respond to questions 5, 6, and 7 from the May 10, 2017 letter to include these more recent actions as well.

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also signed the letter.

A copy of the letter is available here.