A federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that President Joe Biden’s administration had wrongly interpreted an Obamacare provision as barring health care providers from discriminating against gay and transgender people.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo ruled that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2020 holding that a law barring workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees did not apply to the healthcare law.
The ruling by Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump, came in a class action lawsuit by two doctors represented by the America First Legal Foundation, set up by former Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller.
They sued after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in May 2021 it would interpret Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars healthcare providers from discriminating on the basis of sex, as extending to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Kacsmaryk said Congress, when adopting the law, known as Obamacare, in 2010, during the tenure of former Democratic President Barack Obama, could have included “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in the text, but “chose not to do so.”
Instead, the law incorporated the bar against discrimination “on the basis of sex” in Title IX, a 50-year-old federal civil rights law that bars such discrimination in education programs.