The Obama administration has taken steps to protect the rights of transgender patients and improve the impartiality of service provision under the Affordable Care Act.

More specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized the rule to prohibit discrimination among patients of different race, color, religion or sex.

The rule also aims to provide language assistance to people with poor English skills and to protect persons and families with disabilities.

Health Care

The final rule will put the inclusions in the Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act into action. The said section is the first ever federal civil rights law to extensively inhibit inequity based on sex in providing federally funded health actions.

In the past, discrimination rules only applied to race, color, ethnicity, age or disability. Now, gender has been included as well. Such rule requires women to be treated equally as men as they receive health care services. This includes barring discriminative insurance actions such as charging women more than men and prohibiting denial of services to women based on gender identity, pregnancy and sex stereotyping.

Other inclusions in the final rule include helping people better understand their rights and the role their healthcare providers and insurance firms play, banning marketing based on race, color, sex, age or disability, and lastly, prohibiting discriminatory health care providers.

Equal Services For Patients With Limited English Skills

Part of the final rule is to implement actions to enhance language assistance for those with limited English skills and to ensure effective communication among those with disabilities.

Such assistance will be implemented by necessitating the availability of new facilities and electronic information to disabled individuals and by providing them with services and other aids.

Covered communities will also be pushed to develop English language proficiency action plans and take steps to boost access to people with limited language skills.

Extending Help To All

"A central goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help all Americans access quality, affordable health care," says HHS secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. She adds that the move is an important step in achieving equality within the health care industry and boosting the commitment of the Obama administration to give health access to all Americans.

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