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Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington, DC. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is set to propose new rules that would roll back health care protections for transgender people, making it easier for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to deny them coverage by invoking religious reasons, reports the Washington Post.

Details: The administration signaled its intention earlier this month in an ongoing legal challenge in Texas, which seeks to invalidate the Obama-era, anti-discrimination rule that listed gender identity and transgender people as protected classes. Trump’s Health and Human Services Department said in a court filing that the word "sex ... does not refer to gender identity."

The Obama-era rule, intended to help enforce the Affordable Care Act, was blocked in 2016 by a Texas judge. Several Republican-controlled states that filed the suit argue that the policy would force doctors to violate their religious beliefs, and the Texas judge ruled that Congress didn’t intend to protect gender identity.

The big picture: This is the administration's latest effort to roll back already limited protections for LGBTQ Americans, as it seeks to adopt a uniform, legal definition of sex as male or female based on the genitals a person is born with. The federal government has also been changing how transgender people are identified and protected under the law. Less than 2 weeks ago, the administration officially enacted a military transgender ban.

  • There has been long debate over whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to take up 3 cases seeking clarity on this issue.

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.

America can't quit polarizing politicians

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New data finds that the nation's most polarizing politicians are often the ones that garner the most attention online.

Why it matters: Online engagement helps politicians build a bigger national profile and more fundraising power, incentivizing them be more outrageous, more polarizing and more divisive.