Disputed health law rule would broaden transgender rights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big companies are pushing back against proposed federal rules they say would require their medical plans to cover gender transition under the nondiscrimination section of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Civil rights advocates representing transgender people say the regulation, being finalized by the Health and Human Services department, is a major step forward. The transgender community is gaining more acceptance as celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner tell their stories.

The issue mixes rapidly changing social mores and subtle interpretations of complex federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act.

It may end up in court, partly because the health law itself doesn't spell out that its nondiscrimination section would apply to major private employers. The companies say the Obama administration is overreaching.

Administration officials are mum about the final decision.