GLBT & Health Care Reform

There has been little press in the national media concerning the aspects of health care relevant to the GLBT community.  It is exciting to note that current House Bill includes some major, positive aspects for the gay community. These include:

(1)  provisions that categorize GLBT people as a “health disparities population,” ensuring that down the road, data collection and grant programs can focus on health concerns uniquely experienced by the GLBT population in this country.

(2)  Ending the unfair practice of taxing employer-provided domestic partner health benefits, allowing  GLBT people to obtain domestic partner health benefits for their partners and families without having to pay a tax penalty.

(3) the bill incorporates a non-discrimination clause that prohibits the consideration of personal characteristics unrelated to the provision of health care. That likely means that GLBT people will be protected from discrimination in the health care system.

(4) the bill will allow states to cover early HIV treatment under their Medicaid programs, a departure from a current policy that only allows states to use Medicaid funds once a patient develops full-blown AIDS.

Unfortunately, the recently passed Senate Bill does not include any of these measures.  Hopefully these measures will survive the reconciliation process as the Bill moves forward.

Reference: http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/why_the_us_houses_health_reform_bill_is_good_news_for_gay_rights

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