In an attempt to reach out to a group characterized by a high percentage of uninsured people, the Obama administration has launched a program designed to encourage gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals to purchase health care through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The campaign has been dubbed “Out 2 Enroll.” It was officially unveiled last week at a White House luncheon hosted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The White House issued a press release trumpeting the campaign, in which it cited studies, stats and anecdotes to support its theory that the LGBT community desperately needs the protection of the act.
In fact, the release said, the act has already made strides to address the health care needs of the LGBT community:
The release said that “fewer than one in five (17 percent) people living with HIV have private insurance and nearly 30 percent do not have any coverage,” an issue the act directly addresses by offering affordable coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
It further said “many studies have shown that LGBT people are affected by chronic disease at a higher rate than other Americans,” noting that the act “ends lifetime dollar limits on key benefits and restricts annual dollar limits until they are ended in 2014, allowing for long-term comprehensive treatment of chronic diseases.”
No longer will bad insurance executives be able to discriminate against the LGBT community when it comes to coverage, the White House thundered.
“The new health care law forces insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy because of an annual or lifetime limit, or, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.”
Out 2 Enroll is a serious project whose supporters intend to do considerable outreach to the LGBT community, Kellan Baker, associate director for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, one of the campaign’s funders, told the Washington Post.
“This isn’t, ‘Oh, let’s put a rainbow on it,’” he said. “What we’ve seen from our research, and our experience in the LGBT community, is that there are serious issues that we’re going to need to address.”
Baker said the group is “planning a series of regional meetings in some high priority enrollment states like Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. We’ll be having these regional meetings to introduce folks to our research.”
In addition, he said if Out 2 Enroll gets more funding, it will hire outreach workers to explain enrollment options to key members of the LGBT community.
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