Federal judge halts ACA transgender and abortion-related rules from enactment

Dive Brief:

  • A Texas federal judge sided with plaintiffs who oppose the transgender and abortion-related protections under the Affordable Care Act, says BuzzFeed. Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court halted the enactment of these provisions, which protect people undergoing sex changes and pregnancy terminations against discrimination from the HHS.
  • The judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the ACA measures force physicians to perform healthcare services that are counter to their religious beliefs or medical opinions. He also agreed that the measures would require healthcare plans to undergo what’s being described as “burdensome changes.”
  • Katie Hill, White House spokesperson, admitted to BuzzFeed that the injunction was a setback, but didn’t say whether an appeal was certain. BuzzFeed says the Obama administration could appeal the judge’s ruling or request that the judge reserve his ruling for only the plaintiffs.

Dive Insight:

With barely three weeks left in the Obama administration before Donald Trump takes office, it’s unlikely that any court action will occur during that time. And with Republican-dominated legislatures nationwide, Trump’s upcoming appointments of judges and his vow to repeal the ACA, the plaintiffs could be victorious in the end.

Trump's HHS secretary nominee, Tom Price, likely already has a plan in place to change the ACA along more conservative lines. This ruling — which came after years of conflict and debate — could only be the beginning of such changes to the original law.

Filed Under: Legal
Top image credit: Flickr; Phalinn Ooi