According to a new memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare, if you like) will prevent any health care provider receiving federal funds from discriminating against patients on the basis of gender identity or "the failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity."
The memo from the DHHS clarifies the definition of sex-based discrimination prohibited by the Affordable Care Act and follows a number of court cases that included transgender people in their interpretations of sex discrimination laws. Most recently, in April a federal case ruled that transgender employees are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality's Executive Director Mara Keisling, some 20 percent of transgender people reported being turned away by doctors simply because they were transgender.
The memo does not, however, address the issue of transition-related care or other procedures involved in changing one's gender, but as Keisling explained to BuzzFeed, the new language will be a tool to help get coverage for transition-related care.
Moving forward, the Department of Health and Human Services will entertain any complaints of discrimination by health care service providers who receive federal dollars.