BREAKING: Trump finalizes rollback of Obama-era LGBTQ patient protections

The Trump administration is eliminating an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender.

CNN notes the move comes on the four-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed.

Many Democrats were not happy with the move. One commentator on Twitter wrote “Donald Trump is getting rid of LGBT patient protections during Pride Month, on the Orlando Pulse anniversary. He’s obviously doing it on purpose. Just like he’s doing the Tulsa thing on purpose. What a sick f*ck. Vote this worthless piece of shit out of office in record numbers!”

Lindsey Graham opponent Jaime Harrison writes:

On the anniversary of the Pulse shooting in the middle of a pandemic, our LGBTQ community is seeing their healthcare protections stripped away from them.

The cruelty is unfathomable. South Carolinians and all Americans deserve better than this

Politico reports the Trump administration on Friday formally rolled back an Obama-era policy that protected LGBTQ patients from discrimination and required robust language translation services, unnerving health experts who worry vulnerable populations will face further risks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move — long sought by some of President Donald Trump’s supporters in the conservative Christian community — is the latest effort by Trump to mobilize his religious base amid criticism over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the recent protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The new Trump administration rules reverse an Obama policy that banned health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients and women seeking abortions. The Obama administration had issued the first-time protections for LGBTQ patients under a nondiscrimination clause in the Affordable Care Act, citing concerns from advocates these patients had a harder time accessing necessary care,

The Trump administration overhaul, which had been years in the making, came against warnings from health care groups that the rollback could make it easier for hospitals and health care workers to discriminate against patients based on their gender or sexual orientation. It also was panned by advocates who noted that the rule was released on the four-year anniversary of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were killed and dozens more injured.

“These actions demonstrate how little this Administration values the life, health and safety of LGBTQ people,” said Sharita Gruberg of the Center for American Progress. “It’s even more of a disgrace to do so on the anniversary of the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in US history.”

Roger Severino, head of the HHS civil rights office, said the timing of the rule’s release is “purely coincidental.” He also disputed that the new rules would endanger patients during the pandemic.

“Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve gone into overdrive in terms of our civil rights enforcement, and that will not be affected,” he said, citing recent efforts to enforce disability rights protections and other civil rights. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and accordance with the law.”