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New Mexico Opposes Trump Administration’s “License to Discriminate” in Health Care

Mar 27, 2018

Credit New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Commentary: Attorney General Hector Balderas, part of a coalition of 19 Attorneys General, filed comments opposing the Trump Department of Health and Human Services’ Proposed Rule, which seeks to dramatically expand the ability of businesses and individuals to refuse to provide necessary health care on the basis of businesses’ or employees’ “religious, moral, ethical, or other beliefs.”

“Donald Trump is proposing a ‘license to discriminate’ for health care and insurance companies against LGBTQ Americans, but our coalition of attorneys general will fight to kill this outrageous rule,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “As President Trump continues to attack the LGBTQ community, I will continue to fight him every step of the way to protect all New Mexico families.”

The Trump Administration proposes to unlawfully expand purposefully narrow existing protections, without consideration of the consequences. For example, the rule would allow businesses, including employers, to object to providing insurance coverage for procedures they consider objectionable. The rule would also allow individual health care personnel to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options.  Finally, the rule would impose particularly enormous burdens on marginalized patients, including LGBTQ patients, who already confront discrimination in obtaining health care.

Placing the objections of businesses and health care workers above patient safety and care violates existing federal and state laws and undermines state public health efforts to ensure access to care. Additionally, the Proposed Rule unconstitutionally seeks to coerce the States’ compliance with its unlawful requirements by threatening to terminate billions of dollars in federal health care funding if HHS determines that the States have failed—or even “threatened” to fail—to comply with the rule. 

Because HHS’s proposed rule would increase the risk of harm to patients and be inconsistent with the text of several federal and state laws and the Constitution, the attorneys general are urging that the Proposed Rule be withdrawn.

Click here to read the comments, which were submitted by the Attorney General Balderas and the AGs of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.