June 22 (UPI) -- A group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates and clinics filed suit Monday to stop the Trump administration's rollback of federal healthcare discrimination protections for transgender people.
A coalition of clinics filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Department of Health and Human Services announced June 12 that the government would take a narrower interpretation of sexual discrimination under the Affordable Care Act.
"Everyone deserves easy access to healthcare and healthcare that is respectful of who we are," Bamby Salcedo, president and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, told NPR in a statement. "This rule will hurt marginalized communities who already experience barriers to care."
TransLatin@ Coalition is listed as a plaintiff in the suit, along with the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights, the Philadelphia-based Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists, as well as clinics and doctors in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.
In 2016, the HHS ruled that patients under the Affordable Care Act were protected from sexual discrimination based on gender identity, which included "male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female." But a new Trump administration rule limited that language to only apply to the word "sex."
HHS said the change would save hospitals and insurers $2.9 billion in "unnecessary regulatory burdens" over five years. The new rule means those regulated entities won't have to send patients and customers notices about non-discrimination practices, the agency said.
The Human Rights Campaign also said it planned to sue the Trump administration for the rule change.
"LGBTQ people get sick. LGBTQ people need healthcare. LGBTQ people should not live in fear that they cannot get the care they need simply because of who they are," the organization's president Alphonso David said. "It is clear that this administration does not believe that LGBTQ people, or other marginalized communities, deserve equality under the law."