Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Take Action! Supporting Health Care Reform As An LGBT Issue

With all of the talk of national health care reform, not much attention is being given to one fact: this is an LGBT issue, and the proposed reforms have a lot of gay-positive aspects to them.

Did you know that the bill being voted on by Congress this week - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) - includes:
  • Improved data collection for at-risk groups (still a bit vague, but with continued lobbying, this will likely include sexual orientation and gender identity demographic categories)
  • Nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal grants for mental health education and training
  • $8.5 billion in funds for community health centers, including LGBT health community centers
This is in addition to:
  • Prohibition of insurance exclusions based on pre-existing conditions
  • Extension of insurance coverage to approximately 31 million uninsured people
... which will affect thousands of LGBT folks and their families.

LGBT people are often under- and uninsured, and also fall into a number of other at-risk populations, including seniors and youth, women, people of color, immigrants, and people living with HIV/AIDS.

These at-risk groups face extreme discrimination by both insurance companies and by health care providers and are denied the care they need. Even more egregious, in 2007, 50% of our tax dollars were invested in public health expenses in the USA with only 5% of the population receiving treatment, leaving an estimated 45,000 people to die because they simply lacked affordable insurance coverage.

Take action now thorough PFLAG's action alert: tell your representative to pass health reform today!

Access to competent and affordable healthcare is out of reach for far too many of our LGBT loved ones, but we can change it.

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