Biden Administration Reverses Rule Limiting Access to Equitable Cancer Care for Sexual and Gender Minority Community

May 11, 2021

On May 10, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights announced that its ban on sex discrimination once again includes a ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The move will reverse a final rule from June 2020 that established a narrowed definition of sex that protected against discrimination only on the basis of "biological sex."

In 2019, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) expressed concerns in regard to the proposed rule that such a change would inhibit access to equitable cancer care and adequate insurance coverage to meet the needs of Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) individuals with cancer. ASCO's comments were informed by its position statement on reducing cancer health disparities among sexual and gender minority populations.

The Association for Clinical Oncology applauds HHS’ announcement and will continue to urge the Administration and other institutions to include gender identity in definitions of discrimination “on the basis of sex” to help ensure equitable access to cancer care for patients in the SGM community.

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