HHS takes Next Step to Advance Health Equity through ACA
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule, titled Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, that will assist some of the populations that have been most vulnerable to discrimination and will help provide those populations equal access to health care and health coverage.
Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended civil rights protections banning sex discrimination to health programs and activities. Previously, civil rights laws enforced by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) barred discrimination based only on race, color, national origin, disability, or age. The proposed rule also extends all civil rights obligations to the Health Insurance Marketplaces and HHS health programs and activities, and clarifies the standards HHS applies in implementing Section 1557 across all bases of discrimination.
The proposed rule establishes that the prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. It also includes requirements for effective communication for individuals with disabilities and enhanced language assistance for people with limited English proficiency.