Obamacare and the LGBT: Why it matters
The Republican majority in Congress has been working hard this week to fulfill their promise of stripping the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.
This means bad news for LGBT community as Obamacare has managed to help a lot of LGBT people by addressing many of the health issues that prevent them from getting healthcare.
Some of these issues range from excluding transition-related care, lifetime limits for HIV care, being refused care by hospitals and doctors because you’re LGBT, and excluding preexisting conditions.
Unfortunately, though the Republican lawmakers have voted to repeal a number of essential provisions of Obamacare, they’re not proposing anything to replace this that’s more conservative.
The Republicans have already introduced a bill in the new Senate for budget legislation, with important instructions to come up with bills that would save $1 billion by slashing the healthcare law.
What’s more, Vice-President Mike Pence has promised to pull down the current healthcare law via a mixture of executive actions and legislation.
Replacing Obamacare with ‘something’
The Republican approach is supposedly called “repeal and replace” but Maria Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said it’s really more of “repeal and delay.”
In this case, the Republicans will pass a bill that repeals Obamacare, subject to a year or more delay period.
“Ordinary LGBT Americans would lose tax credits, Medicaid, or health care through their job, while insurance and drug companies and the wealthy would get huge tax breaks,” Keisling wrote in The Advocate.
“The various ‘replacement’ ideas Republicans– including Trump HHS secretary nominee Tom Price– have floated in the past would gut protections for LGBT people and people with disabilities, access to preventive care, and tax credits for most Americans,” she added.
“But right now the American people are being asked to bet their health care on ‘we’ll come up with something’,” she pointed out.
LGBT healthcare before Obamacare
Anne Stockwell, a journalist and a former editor-in-chief of The Advocate, is even more angry: she’s a lesbian and a three-time cancer survivor, and she knows the risks of the death of Obamacare.
Writing for NewNowNext, Stockwell said: “Now Mike Pence and Paul Ryan are bringing the danger back, threatening our LGBT civil rights and gutting the provisions of Obamacare that made it okay for us cancer recidivists to come out and be seen. And here we are, millions of us, sitting ducks, out in the open.”
Stockwell related when she had cancer back in 2005, she hid it from her employers for a year and a half because she was afraid that they would fire her.
“I knew I had to protect my insurance, because this was my second go-round in four years. My cancer was a pre-existing condition,” she said.
“Then came Obamacare, and just like that, we could all exhale. For me, the cancer coming-out felt just as sweet as the queer one” she noted.
What parts of Obamacare can be changed
Presently, the Republicans can only make changes in Obamacare via a simple majority with regard to taxes, spending, or the long-term federal budget.
The other parts, like the insurance marketplaces structure, would need 60 votes in the Senate. There are currently 52 Republicans in the new Senate.