Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks HHS Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities

July 8, 2024

On July 3, 2024, a federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Final Rule, which was finalized in May and set to go into effect July 5, 2024.

The rule was intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity in health care, but is now facing lawsuits challenging it by 15 Republican-led states; Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia.

The rule states that a federal prohibition on sex discrimination, part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance law, extends to discrimination against transgender people. States opposing the rule argue that it would require their Medicare programs covering low-income residents to pay for treatments like hormones and surgeries for transgender individuals, including for minors -- treatments many Republican states have passed laws banning.

The federal judge ordered implementation of the rule be paused nationwide while the lawsuits are being heard.

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