Republican Lawmakers Demand Explanation for Obamacare Transgender Rule


Congressional Republicans have attacked Obamacare twice in the past two weeks.

An Oct. 6 letter demands that the Health and Human Services Department explain a section of the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination provision, Section 1557, which they characterized as the “transgender mandate.”

A July rule implementing Section 1557 requires doctors to perform gender reassignment procedures on individuals, including children, against their medical judgment and, possibly, against their religious beliefs, the letter said.

The allegations mirror those made in an August complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. A group of states and Christian health-care providers claimed the rule will affect virtually every doctor in the country. The rule mandates they abandon their Hippocratic oath and perform procedures they believe aren’t in patients’ best interest, the suit said.

Transgender rights advocates, when the case was filed, told me the plaintiffs misconstrued the rule. It mandates that providers not deny treatment aiding gender transition if they would provide the same treatment in another context. For example, a doctor couldn’t refuse a hysterectomy to a woman transitioning to a man if he or she would have performed the procedure for another reason, such as to treat uterine cancer.

The rule doesn’t mention children, the advocates said. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing the plaintiffs in the federal court case.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) led over 45 House members in making the demand.

Read my story here.

House Republicans Oct. 13 told another federal court that insurers seeking payment under an Obamacare risk-sharing program aren’t entitled to a federal bailout. Insurers in eight cases seek payment of about $5 billion they claim the government owes them under the risk corridor program.

Government lawyers moved to dismiss the case, but the House lawmakers said their arguments weren’t sufficient. They said the insurers can’t recover because the government has no legal obligation to pay them the money. In-coming risk corridor money was meant to fund the payments, and there simply hasn’t been enough of that, the brief said.

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