The federal rule on nondiscrimination in health care prohibits denying or limiting coverage for transgender individuals, including health services related to gender transition.
The Texas Attorney General's Office is leading the case, which was filed in the same Texas federal court, and assigned to the same judge, that earlier this week blocked an administration policy that would allow transgender people to use school bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.
"The Texas preliminary injunction has no effect whatsoever on this case, as it is directed only against the federal government defendants in the Texas case, and enjoins them from enforcing the relevant guidelines only against the 13 state plaintiffs in that case, which do not include North Carolina", attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal wrote.
A group of states and provider organizations are taking on a recent rule change that bars covered entities from denying healthcare to patients based on their sex and gender identity.
Ten states and Washington, D.C., require private insurers to cover transgender health care, while six states plus the nation's capital cover such services through their Medicaid programs, according to advocates. When it enacted the law, Congress used the term "sex" as a biological category. "The Obama Administration is now trying to redefine the law so that the term "sex" means one's 'internal sense of gender which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.' But the President does not have the power to rewrite law".
"Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new rule "interpreting" the definition of "sex" within the Affordable Care Act".
"I am disappointed in the Obama Administration's lack of consideration for medical professionals who believe that engaging in such procedures or treatment violates their Hippocratic Oath, their conscience, or their personal religious beliefs, which are protected by the Constitution and federal law", Paxton said.
The regulation applies to those who accept federal money.
The regulation does not provide complete exemptions for healthcare providers that are affiliated with a religion; it does suggest they could claim an exemption under current federal religious freedom laws.
Jay Brown of the Human Rights Campaign said: "Ken Paxton's continued attacks on transgender Americans are politically motivated, created to intimidate and simply beyond the pale".