For the past seven years, Republican leaders have been united in opposition to the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) despite the fact that the United States has made significant gains since the law was enacted in 2010.
Uninsured rates are at historic lows, consumers are satisfied with their marketplace coverage, and the burden of uncompensated care on safety net hospitals and state budgets has been dramatically reduced.
These benefits have been especially important for LGBTQ people. More LGBTQ people than ever before have health insurance. 2017 was the best year EVER for transgender people to get covered. And LGBTQ people are now protected from discrimination in health care simply for being you. This means that your partner or spouse can visit you in the hospital; and doctors, nurses, and other staff should use your correct name and pronoun and admit you to a hospital room or ward based on your gender identity.
So—we’ve made a lot of progress under the Affordable Care Act! But what comes next, especially for LGBTQ communities? Beyond the scary headlines, partisan Facebook posts, and confusion, what do you really need to know?
First, nothing has changed.
The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. If you receive financial help to buy a plan at HealthCare.gov, that help will still be there and you should keep paying your premiums. (And you can still enroll if you qualify for a “special enrollment period!”)
Even more important, all LGBTQ people are still protected from discrimination in health insurance and health care. Section 1557—the nondiscrimination protection in the Affordable Care Act—is still in place and can’t be repealed by Republicans in Congress (it would take 60 votes in the Senate which is unlikely). This means that you should be respected when using your health insurance or accessing health care.
If you face any discrimination, let PROMO know. PROMO has worked with MO HealthNet and the Missouri Department of Insurance and has identified many LGBTQ-affirming hospitals across the state. You can also let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact a legal organization to help.
If and when there are changes that affect you, PROMO and Out2Enroll will let you know—in the meantime, get the health care that you need with the confidence that you should be treated fairly.
Second, we are winning but there’s more work to do.
There are many debates happening about the future of our country, both in Missouri and in Washington DC. And we know you’re receiving a lot of requests to step up and take action. So far, those efforts are making a real difference when it comes to health care and protecting Planned Parenthood (one of the largest provider of transgender health care in the United States!).
But we will continue to need your help to protect the Affordable Care Act—and other programs like Medicaid and our friends at Planned Parenthood—that are critical for LGBTQ health. This LGBT Health Awareness Week, join Out2Enroll and PROMO in ensuring that the LGBTQ community is not left behind when it comes to affordable, quality health coverage.
We’ve come too far in LGBTQ health to turn back now.