Equal access to Obamacare for all Americans – including lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
It’s a tall order, but ensuring it happens is now part of the mission at the U.S. Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. The agency is a nearly $40 million operation that historically has investigated discrimination charges against hospitals and other providers in cases that typically involved the disabled or minorities.
The health system’s problems can be especially pronounced in the LGBT community, advocates say, and discrimination that's based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is commonplace.
Access to health care services, including preventive care such as cancer screenings, are a huge part of the problem.
In addition, its report said, many doctors lack the necessary training. “Medical schools teach very little about sexuality in general and little or nothing about the unique aspects of lesbian, gay and bisexual health,” it said.
PPACA will mean not only new nondiscrimination protections but, perhaps most critically, coverage for many in the LGBT community as a result of the expansion of Medicaid.
In part, that’s because as states finalize the details of benefit plans and packages expected to be sold on the coming insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, the question is just how much variation might be seen between plans.
One big variable already identified clearly: While many of those with HIV live in the nearly 30 states that have either already opted for Medicaid expansion under PPACA or are in the process of doing so, there are many more who live in states still sitting on the sidelines.
And then there’s the concern shared by all – whether the exchanges will be up and running in October.