Kaiser Permanente applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for updating, effective immediately, its interpretation of the nondiscrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation. This past year the pandemic has shown tremendous disparities in health and care faced by many populations in our country. In the midst of the pandemic, a rule finalized in June 2020 eliminated these protections and exposed some of the most vulnerable people in our society to being denied care. Despite that past action to eliminate protections, Kaiser Permanente remained fully committed to transgender care and maintained all services and protections for our LGBTQ members.
“No person should live in fear that they will be denied care based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Today’s action by HHS restoring protections for LGBTQ people is critical to ensuring that never happens again,” said Kaiser Permanente chair and CEO Greg A. Adams. “All people deserve respect, support, and dignity when they reach out for care and healing. At Kaiser Permanente we are committed to equitably providing high-quality care to all people. That has always been part of our mission and today it is even more important, as we seek equality, social justice, and an end to discrimination.”
In 2018, when HHS began the process of redefining gender under the existing nondiscrimination provision of the ACA, Kaiser Permanente joined more than 50 other major companies and organizations by signing a statement in support of transgender equality. Kaiser Permanente also strongly objected to the proposed changes in a comment letter to HHS in August 2019, joining more than 130,000 others calling on the agency to maintain the critical nondiscrimination protections of the long-standing rule.
Kaiser Permanente is a nationally recognized leader in LGBTQ health care equality, providing full-spectrum medical, surgical, and mental health care to our transgender patients and members. We are proud to offer gender-affirming services that ensure respectful, equitable, and inclusive care to all of our transgender and gender-expansive patients and members everywhere that we deliver care.