New York will protect transgender residents, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Sunday, telling the state’s Health Department to issue regulations to prevent health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender New Yorkers.
The move, he said, was intended to combat the Trump administration’s repeal of a federal regulation that clarifies that the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination protections include those based on gender identity.
“For every step the Trump administration takes backward, New York will take two steps forward,” he said, speaking at a breakfast before the Pride March. “When you see diversity as a negative, you are putting wedges in the community.”
Cuomo also directed the state’s Department of Financial Services to expand the scope of anti-discrimination protections for transgender residents accessing health insurance, and to send out a letter reminding companies that discrimination based on gender identity is prohibited in New York.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who endorsed Cuomo for governor on Sunday, said “Every time an issue has come up with our community, he doesn’t have to ask twice. He gets it.”
Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement that there is no room for discrimination in New York’s health care system.
“New York State stands with transgender people and in opposition to any action to limit their rights to high-quality medical care,” he said.