What Healthcare Reform Means for LGBT Communities
by Crystal A. Proxmire
Originally printed 2/21/2013 (Issue 2108 - Between The Lines News)
The biggest challenge with healthcare reform is the abundance of rumor and misinformation that is out there. That's why Michigan Consumers for Healthcare and the Center for American Progress are traveling around the state explaining the law to various target communities, including LGBT residents.
Kellan Baker of the Center for American Progress was part of a Feb. 11 outreach held at Oakland University. His presentation outlined many provisions of "Obama Care," a term that the administration is re-claiming as Baker said, "because after all he does care."
Baker explained "almost all individuals must have coverage by January 2014. The way a health insurance system works is if you want it when you're sick you have to pay for it when you're well. Too few people are paying into the system right now." He said there are 1.2 million uninsured in Michigan residents and 50 million across the U.S.
LGBT people face health a number of discrepancies, which the administration acknowledges. They face less coverage, less benefits for partners, no legal protection for employment, increased discrimination, violence, poverty and homelessness. There are many plans that exclude transgender health services. There is also a lack of data, which would inform a basis for funding and targeted services. And there is a problem with health care providers who are not culturally competent in dealing with LGBT clients.
There are ten provisions of the Healthcare Act, which are particularly important to LGBT people.
1. Data Collection
"If there is no data, and you can't show a problem, then there is no problem," Baker said. In 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services announced a LGBT Data Progressive Plan that includes sexual orientation and sexual identity be included in patient forms and surveys.
2. Patient Bill of Rights
The Patient Bill of Rights ends lifetime limits on insurance. It ends rejection based on pre-existing conditions. It ends arbitrary withdrawal of insurance coverage. And it gives rebates if executives spend too much on overhead costs and executive salaries at insurance agencies.
3. Public Coverage Expansion
Medicaid has been reformed and will be setting Medicaid coverage for all individuals making $15,000 or less for individuals and $31,000 for a family of four. Previously it was only available to those who had children or were disabled.
4. Private Coverage Expansion
The Act allows for Federal subsidies for people in the $15,000 - $45,000 income range. Plans cannot discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. The coverage must meet ten requirements: Essential Health Benefits plans must include coverage within the following 10 categories:
1. Ambulatory patient services (for example, walk-in services at community health centers)
2. Emergency services
4. Maternity and newborn care
5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
6. Prescription drugs
7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
8. Laboratory services
9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
10.Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
5. Preventative Care
Health insurance plans are now mandated to cover preventative care, HIV/STD testing, depression screenings, vaccinations, tobacco use screening and cholesterol screenings. The Women's Health Amendment covers contraception and violence screening.
6. Information Services
The bill establishes http://www.healthcare.gov, a website where people can shop for coverage and compare rates. They can even search for health plans that offer domestic partner benefits.
7. Health Care Workforce
Obamacare provides $11 billion to support new community health centers, which will increase access to "essential community providers," including those who use Ryan White HIV and AIDS funding.
The Affordable Care Act also triples the size of the National Health Service Corps, a group that gets specific LGBT competency training.
A big change is the elimination of "medical disability" as the requirement for Medicaid. Previously someone would have to be debilitating ill to qualify for medical care. With Obamacare a person can begin treatment early in their diagnosis, which greatly impacts patient life expectancy. The act also prohibits exclusion based on pre-existing conditions such as HIV/AIDS. The creation of electronic health records system will also streamline the process of understanding a patient and their medical history.
9. Nondiscrimination Protections
The Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination Act and Title IX are all tools the government can use to protect LGBT Americans. These include HIV/AIDS status and sex. Baker explained that the Department of Health and Human Services is interpreting these broadly to include LGBT people in sex discrimination cases.
10. Community-Based Prevention
The act has allocated $15 billion in prevention and public health grants, with some granting money going to projects with LGBT communities as a priority population. Baker noted that for every $1 spent on prevention you save $5 in terms of healthcare spending down the road.
Another key thing to know about the new law is the Healthcare Marketplace. In Michigan the marketplace is a partnership between the State and the Federal government where qualified health care plans will be offered. Despite Michigan's ban on marriage recognition, some private health care plans can offer domestic partner benefits.
The marketplace is expected to launch in October 2013, giving residents three months to find insurance to comply with the insurance requirement.To learn more visit http://www.consumersforhealthcare.org.
- Honoring The Death Of Trans Sisters And Brothers
- Trans In Michigan? The ACLU Wants To Hear From You
- Schuette Wants State's 300 Same-Sex Marriages Voided
- Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Expansion Precarious
- Renowned Gay Writers To Visit Ann Arbor
- New MI Group Aims To Pass Fully Inclusive Civil Rights Amendment
- Facebook Community Reacts To 6th Circuit Ruling
- Pay It Forward This Holiday Season
- Federal Court Rules 2011 Law Prohibiting Domestic Partner Benefits Unconstitutional
- States In 6th Circuit Request SCOTUS Review
- AT&T National 'Will Only Support Fully Inclusive Bill' On Civil Rights
- Michigan GOP Pushes Non-Inclusive Elliott-Larsen Amendment
- Upcoming Community Michigan LGBT Marriage Conversations
- Statewide Campaign For Gender Inclusive Civil Rights Amendment
- The Long Shot Move To Pass Inclusive Civil Rights Amendment
- Jeremy Moss To Be Next State House Representative
- People Of Faith Invited To Community Conversation
- Obituary: Ernest B. Gutierrez 'Tito'
- Michigan's Marriage Ban Draws Strong Reaction
- Jon Hoadley: Next State House Rep. District 60
- Tennyson Chevrolet
- Campus; Student and Alumni Groups
- GLOBE (Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Equity)
- Caesar's Windsor Hotel & Casino
- University Musical Society
- Dexter Cabinet & Countertop
- Families and Parents
- PFLAG Battle Creek
- Astrein's Creative Jewelers
- Rental Service
- C & N Party Rentals
- Oakland University Dept. of Music, Theatre & Dance
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Q&A: Lisa Kudrow On Judging 'Drag Race' (As Valerie Cherish!) & Gays Being Biologically 'Superhuman'
- Q&A: Andy Cohen On His (Almost) Tell-All Book, 'Nasty' Names Gays Call Him
- GOP Hopeful Wants 'Christians' Fleeing MI If Gays Get Civil Rights
- Divine Intervention: Bette Midler Talks Early Gay Support, 'Diva' Degradation & Twerking ('Girls, Please!')
- Creep of the Week: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!