Judge blocks Biden admin. of demanding tax dollars be used to fund sex-change operations

A federal judge in Mississippi has blocked the implementation of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule that would have interpreted the Affordable Care Act to include protections for gender identity and require Medicaid funding of sex reassignment surgeries.

US District Judge Louis Guirola of the Southern District of Mississippi issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday in the State of Tennessee et al. v. Xavier Becerra et alhelping with 15 states suing HHS and barring the Biden administration from enforcing a final rule that would reportedly require states to use taxpayer dollars to cover cosmetic gender reassignment interventions for trans-identified minors.

The rule, similar to one enacted during the last year of the Obama administration before being rescinded under former President Donald Trump, would require providers and insurers who receive federal funds providing or covering surgical or hormonal sex interventions.

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“Plaintiffs have demonstrated that the May 2024 Rule will cause concrete, imminent injury in the form of compliance costs,” wrote Guirola, appointed by George W. Bush. “Plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that HHS exceeded its statutory authority.”

“Plaintiffs have no assurance that they will be excused from paying compliance costs when the May 2024 Rule goes into effect. Plaintiffs have therefore established a substantial threat of imminent irreparable harm.”

Guirola suggested that the Biden administration was wrongly relying on the 2020 ruling by the US Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, which dealt with employment discrimination, to justify its health regulations. The administration often cited the Bostock deciding on issuing regulations related to LGBT discrimination protections.

“An analysis of the language and provisions of Title IX, as well as its regulations, provides even more support for finding that the Bostock possession does not apply to Title IX and Section 1557 [of the Affordable Care Act],” the judge asserts.

Mississippi attorney Lynn Fitch, whose state is one of those suing, said in a statement that putting “a secret identity into our state's medical system is a dangerous pursuit of the Biden Administration's political agenda.”

“Medical professionals should not be forced to provide gender reassignment surgery or medication against their judgment and hospitals should not be prohibited from providing women-only spaces for patients,” stated Fitch.

“And States should not be forced to lose Medicaid dollars because they pass laws that reflect the will of the people, but not the will of this White House.”

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson, the head of what is said to be the largest LGBT advocacy group in the United States, denounced the preliminary injunction.

“The discrimination that GLBTQ+ people will continue to experience under this order is indefensible. This decision is not only morally wrong, it is also bad policy. Everyone deserves access to the medical care they need to be healthy and thrive,” said Robinson . statement

“Instead, this court has sided with the fringe groups and politicians who want to bully our community at every opportunity. This is not over: all LGBTQ+ people must receive the health care they deserve and be able to make informed decisions about our own bodies. .”

In May, HHS issued a final rule, scheduled to take effect on July 5, regarding Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination based on color, national origin, race, age, disability and sex.

The final rule, which defined “gender” to include gender identity and gender identity, was championed by the administration as improving anti-discrimination policies in health care.

In statement made in April, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra called the measure “a giant step forward for this country toward a more equitable and inclusive health care system.”

“Americans across the country now have a clear way to exercise their rights against discrimination when they go to the doctor, talk to their health plan or engage in health programs administered by HHS,” he said.

“I am very proud that our Office for Civil Rights stands up against discrimination, no matter who you are, who you love, your faith or where you live. Once again, we remind Americans that we have your back.”

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