Trump Administration appoints controversial figure to HHS’ anti-discrimination office

The Trump Administration appointed Roger Severino as Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Previously, Severino worked for the Heritage Foundation as the director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity. Prior to his work with the Heritage foundation, he was a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Severino was also the Chief Operations Officer and Legal Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

OCR 

The OCR enforces federal laws designed to prohibit discriminatory practices in health care by providers who receive HHS funds. The OCR also protects the privacy and security of health information through its investigatory and enforcement actions related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (P.L. 104-191).

Opposition

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) spoke out in opposition to the Trump Administration’s appointment, calling it an “appalling hire.” Murray criticized Severino’s work with the Heritage foundation and the Becket Fund, where he “fought against transgender equality in health care, against the separation of church and state, and in support of defunding Planned Parenthood.” Severino has previously worked to oppose the OCR’s implementation of Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148)—a law which prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.