The current administration in Washington daily seeks to strip away laws and policy's that have been put into place to protect citizens of this country from discrimination. Some we hear about, and sadly some barely make the news. One of the recent attacks is the proposed changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 is the primary anti-discrimination provision in the ACA and prohibits health programs from discriminating against patients on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. If finalized it would significantly narrow the scope of the existing HHS implementing regulations by:
- Eliminating the general prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity, as well as specific health insurance coverage protections for transgender individuals;
- Adopting blanket abortion and religious freedom exemptions for health care providers;
- Eliminating the provision preventing health insurers from varying benefits in ways that discriminate against certain groups, such as people with HIV or LGBTQ people;
- Weakening protections that provide access to interpretation and translation services for individuals with limited English proficiency;
- Eliminating provisions affirming the right of private individuals to challenge alleged violations of § 1557 in court and to obtain money damages, as well as requirements for covered entities to provide non-discrimination notices and grievance procedures;
- Narrowing the reach of the regulations by only covering specific activities that receive federal funding, but not other operations, of health insurers that are not “principally engaged in the business of providing health care,” and no longer applying the regulations to all HHS-administered programs
Please click read more below for comments from a healthcare professional here in Cass County. Also, find the link and/or address to publicly respond to this by the August 13th deadline.
As a healthcare professional, I see the importance and added value of providing safe and unbiased care to all people from all backgrounds. I have cared for people from all walks of life, all faiths, no faith, homeless and incredibly wealthy. I have taken care of priests, nuns, prostitutes, and addicts.
As a former hospice nurse, I have witnessed incredibly peaceful and beautiful deaths and I have been present for long and drawn out unmanageable deaths. I have been honored and had the privilege of taking part in the most precious moments in a person's life. The very first breath they took and the very last breath they took. And this I can share with you unequivocally.
It won't matter what car you drove, where you lived, how many bedrooms or houses you had. It won't matter what restroom you used or didn't use or whether you wore masculine or more feminine clothing. It won't matter how much money you made or investments you had.
You see, in the end, all that you think about is, did I do enough good? Did I love enough? Was I kind enough? Did I forgive enough? Did I show my children enough? What is my legacy? We all bleed the same blood.
Before we are born or go out on the stage of life someone throws us a costume and yells, "Hey, put this on!" We have no idea what it looks like or what it represents. We throw it on and jump on stage and begin our act.
Scene 1 and the crowd goes wild! We act to our audience. Based on the roar of the crowd, we change our behavior. We assimilate. Scene 2. We evolve. The crowd roars. We adapt.
The crowd or society tells us who we are based on the costume we are wearing. But who we are is on the inside. The costume was merely thrown at us right before we went on stage.
Don't single people out based on a costume that society has preconceptions about today that will change in 2 years or 5 years or 10 or 100 years.
Judge people based on the content of their character, not by their hair color, eye color, skin color, who they love or how they identify or choose to worship.
Jennifer Gardner, RN
Click this link below to find ways to publicly respond to this proposed change by the August 13th deadline.