Dear Secretary Azar:
MomsRising submits these comments in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to express our concerns with the proposed rule entitled “Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities,” published in the Federal Register on July 14, 2019.
MomsRising is a movement of more than a million people nationwide that works to increase family economic security, end discrimination against women and mothers, and build a nation where both businesses and families can thrive. We are dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of our nation’s families and the proposed rule change could have an adverse impact on families across the United States.
While Section 1557 is still the law, this proposed rule attempts to change the administrative implementation in ways that are contrary to the plain language of the law. While unlawful, the NPRM’s proposed changes could impose wide ranging harm, creating barriers to care due to discrimination, eliminating notice requirements so people are unaware of their right to file a complaint, and limits remedies available to people who have experienced discrimination.This harm would particularly fall hardest upon our most underserved populations who already struggle to access health care. The proposed rule will adversely impact the access to health care for people seeking reproductive health care (including abortion), LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with limited English proficiency (including immigrants), those living with disabilities, and people of color. Moreover, this rule would embolden compounding levels of discrimination against those who live at the intersection of these identities. The proposed rule is dangerous and contravenes the plain language of Section 1557, specifically, and the ACA broadly.
In order to reflect the ACA’s clear intent and its overriding purpose of eliminating discrimination in health care, including against moms in some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities, the proposed rule should not be finalized.