The AHA today urged the Department of Health and Human Services not to finalize certain proposed revisions to a 2016 final rule implementing the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination protections for patients. The provisions seek to end protection against discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation, or on sex stereotypes.
 
“The AHA is concerned that narrowing the current regulation’s protections against discrimination based on sex, including gender identity, sexual orientation and sex stereotypes, could have an adverse impact on access to care and the health of individuals,” the association wrote. “… We also are concerned by the proposed changes that would limit the circumstances in which prohibitions against discrimination would apply to health insurers. Without meaningful access to coverage, there is no meaningful access to care.”
 
The AHA voiced continuing support for the current regulation’s emphasis on ensuring that those who are less proficient in English know that they can access translation services to aid in their care. However, it said removing the blanket mandate for translation services in 15 different languages, regardless of the languages spoken in the communities served, “will enable the many hospitals, especially in rural areas, that serve communities in which many fewer languages are spoken, to devote their resources to translation services that are most meaningful for the individuals they serve.” 

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