However, the changes announced by the Trump administration will enforce sex discrimination protections, “according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology,” according to the Associated Press.
In the lawsuit, the coalition of 23 state attorneys argued that modifying the sex discrimination protections will allow insurance companies to discriminate based on gender identity.
According to the lawsuit, overturning the protections “arbitrarily and unlawfully strips health care rights statutorily guaranteed by Section 1557 from transgender people, women and other individuals seeking reproductive health care or with pregnancy-related conditions.”
The Trump administration is being sued by a coalition of Democratic state attorneys in response to its announcement that healthcare discrimination protections for transgender people will be overturned next month.
The discrimination protections that were included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), implemented during the Obama administration, stated that people could not be discriminated against because of race, colour, national origin, sex, age or disability.
New York attorney general Letitia James, who is leading the coalition, added that “this is just the latest attempt by president Trump and his administration to unlawfully chip away at health care for Americans after failing to repeal the ACA time after time.”
The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan, New York City, on Monday against the Department of Health and Human Services, its secretary Alex Azar and its civil rights chief Roger Severino.
The coalition is seeking an injunction to block the rule from becoming law, and have argued in the lawsuit that it breaches the Fifth Amendment’s clause for equal protection.
Last month, the Supreme Court barred workplace sex discrimination against those in the LGBT+ community, and ruled that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status is unlawful discrimination because of sex.”
The state attorneys argued that the administration’s plans are in breach of the court’s ruling and that the protections should extend to healthcare.
California attorney general Xavier Becerra is one of the 23 officials who helped craft the lawsuit, and he told the AP that the policy is cruel, but even more so during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a mean and unconstitutional rule in any context,” Mr Becerra said. “But authorising discrimination in our health care system at this time, when our nation is suffering through a pandemic, is unbelievably immoral.”
He added: “The moment when our nation is working to fight against and confront systemic discrimination is not the time to open up more discrimination.”