Washington, DC – The Trump administration’s ongoing war on health care puts the entire LGBTQ community at risk. This Pride Month, it’s important to highlight the barriers to health care that LGBTQ Americans face every day and what’s at stake due to the GOP’s sabotage agenda. To highlight LGBTQ health care during Pride Month, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Pride Month is an important time to recognize the many challenges gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans still face in receiving quality and affordable health care. With blatant attacks and discrimination from the Trump administration against trans people and same-sex parents, and their push to dismantle Medicaid through the Texas lawsuit, the GOP’s sabotage agenda would have devastating effects on the well-being and care of LGBTQ Americans across the country. During Pride Month, Americans should lift up and protect our nation’s most marginalized communities, work to ensure comprehensive coverage for LGBTQ medical needs, and continue working to defeat Trump and the Republican Party’s reckless assault on health care.”

Background:

MEMBERS OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY FACE DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE

The LGBTQ Community Faces Significant Barriers To Care. One study published in Health Affairs found that though the uninsured rate gap among members of the LGBTQ community has started to approach the uninsured rate among the non-LGBTQ community, “many continue to experience poorer access to high-quality care. Gay nonwhite men, bisexual white women, and bisexual and lesbian nonwhite women are disadvantaged in multiple aspects of access, compared to straight white men. Only some of these disparities are attributable to economic factors, which implies that noneconomic barriers to care are substantial.” [Health Affairs, October 2017]

Roughly One In Six LGBTQ People Say They Have Avoided Medical Care Due To Concern They Would Be Discriminated Against. “Overall, 18% of LGBTQ Americans say they have avoided going to a doctor or seeking health care out of concern that they would be discriminated against or treated poorly because of their LGBTQ identity.” [NPR, RWJF, & Harvard, November 2017]

Nearly A Quarter Of Transgender Americans Say They Have Avoided Doctors Or Health Care Out Of Fear Of Discrimination. In a survey conducted for NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 22 percent of transgdender Americans report having avoided doctors or health care out of concern they would be discriminated against. Additionally, in the context of health care 10 percent of transgender people report being personally discrimiated against because they are transgender whem going to a doctor or health clinic. [NPR, RWJF, & Harvard, November 2017]

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS GREENLIGHTING EVEN MORE DISCRIMINATION

Now, The Trump Administraion Wants To Erode Rules That Protect LGBTQ Patients From Discrimination In The Health Care System. In May 2019, the Trump administration proposed rule change that allows doctors, hospitals, and health care companies to refuse to provide services to LGBTQ people and patients who have had abortions. While the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557 protected LGBTQ patients against discrimination based on sex (defined to include gender identity and sex stereotypes), the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of this section grants a license to discriminate. [CBS News, 5/24/19]

The Williams Institute At UCLA Estimates That This Rollback Would Leave 1.4 Million Transgender Adults And 150,000 Transgender Teens Without The Help Of The Federal Government In Situations Of Discrimination. “The original rule was adopted ‘in response to an overwhelming record of anti-transgender discrimination and barriers to health care and health coverage,’ said Jocelyn Samuels, the former director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights and the current head of the Williams Institute at UCLA, in a statement. ‘A reversal of these protections would be contrary to the law and, if adopted, would seriously endanger the health and wellbeing of an especially vulnerable population.’ The Williams Institute, a think tank on LGBTQ rights, said that this rollback would leave 1.4 million transgender adults and 150,000 transgender teens without the help of the federal government in situations of discrimination.” [The Atlantic, 5/24/19]

Trump’s Discrimination Rule Is Part Of A Broader Effort By The Trump Administration To Reverse Progress In LGBTQ+ Rights. “The potential new HHS rule is part of a broader effort by social conservatives in the Trump administration to change the language around LGBTQ people in official documents, regulations and the law to represent more traditional views on relationships and rights. This includes adding references to ‘marriage between man and woman’ and removing terms such as gender rights.” [Washington Post, 4/24/19]

AND REPUBLICANS’ RELENTLESS REPEAL AND SABOTAGE AGENDA THREATENS TO TAKE COVERAGE AWAY FROM MANY IN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY

Republicans’ Tireless Attempts To Overturn And Repeal The Affordable Care Act Jeopardize LGBTQ Americans’ Coverage. “A new study by the Center for American Progress, or CAP, finds that 15 percent of LGBT Americans across all income ranges are uninsured in 2017, compared to 7 percent of non-LGBT Americans. The ACA is closing this gap for those who most need financial help to afford coverage. In 2013, before the ACA’s coverage reforms came into effect, 1 in 3 LGBT people making less than $45,000 per year (34 percent) were uninsured. Just one year later, in 2014, uninsurance for this group had dropped by one-quarter to 1 in 4 (26 percent), and by 2017, CAP’s study finds that it was around 1 in 5 (22 percent). Conservative proposals to repeal and replace the ACA—such as the American Health Care Act, or AHCA—would undo these gains and hurt LGBT people, their families, and their neighbors.” [Center for American Progress, 3/22/17]

The Trump Administration Has Also Pushed Junk Plans, Which Are Exempt From Key Non-Discrimination Protections. “The Trump administration has sought to widen the availability of plans that may be exempt from key protections, including non-discrimination protections related to SOGI. Short-term limited duration (STLD) and association health plans in particular have been targeted as vehicles for this expansion.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2018]