Texas wins nationwide preliminary injunction in lawsuit to protect Texans and physicians from new Obamacare mandate
Published 9:50 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Special to The Leader
AUSTIN – A federal court granted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Obama administration’s new federal health rules from forcing doctors to act contrary to their medical judgment or religious beliefs. The law, scheduled to take effect today, would force the Employees Retirement System of Texas to amend its insurance coverage for all 500,000 participants to provide for gender reassignment and abortion.
In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new rule “interpreting” the definition of “sex” within the Affordable Care Act as a state of mind, not a biological fact. When Congress enacted the law, it used the term “sex” as a biological category. The Obama administration is attempting 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,” even though the president lacks the authority to rewrite the law.
The impact of the new rule on Texas and health care workers is significant. Not only does it require taxpayers to fund all treatments designed to transition to a different sex, it also forces health care workers, including physicians, to provide controversial services. Under the new rule, a physician that believes that certain treatments are not in a patient’s best interests may be in violation of federal law. And a physician that, for religious or conscientious reasons cannot perform a particular procedure, chooses to instead refer a patient to another health care provider may also be determined to be in violation of this new rule. This runs roughshod over laws in Texas and other states that protect the independent medical judgment of doctors, which ensures the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.
“This striking example of federal overreach under Obamacare would force many doctors, hospitals and other health care providers in Texas to participate in sex-reassignment surgeries and treatments, even if it violates their best medical judgment or their religious beliefs,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I will always fight to protect the constitutional rights of Texans.”