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Howard Brown Health condemns last-minute HHS rule

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CHICAGO — Howard Brown Health (HBH), the largest LGBTQ health system in the state, condemned the new rule published this week allowing Health and Human Services (HHS) to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken the lives of over 375,000 Americans to date, the last thing that HHS should be doing is finalizing a dangerous rule that could make accessing necessary services even more difficult for marginalized communities,” HBH said in a statement on their website.

The healthcare provider said that LGBTQ people already experience discrimination in finding care, creating barriers to care and adding to health disparities.

The final rule removes requirements that organizations that receive HHS grant funding cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, and must recognize same-sex marriages as legally valid.

The rule was published on Tuesday, Jan. 12, goes into effect on Feb. 11.

“With this rule, the Trump Administration and HHS continue their no-holds-barred and comprehensive assault on the health and well-being of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, as well as on women, religious minorities, and limited English speakers,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Sasha Buchert said last week. “Even as Trump administration officials abandon ship, HHS has announced yet another dangerous rule that invites discrimination against the very people federal grant programs are meant to help.”

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