Tell the HHS that Our Access to Healthcare Shouldn’t Be Up for Debate
On Friday, May 24, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new regulation that would scrap language within the Affordable Care Act (specifically, in section 1557) that outlines protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex stereotyping. The law as it is currently written bans discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, and the proposed update removes these protections.
Put simply, this is an attack on the LGBTQ+ community and our access to healthcare.
This is especially infuriating, because according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the LGBTQ+ community already faces health disparities, both physical and mental, at higher rates than non-LGBTQ+ people in part due to societal stigma, discrimination and denial of our basic civil and human rights. Codifying the acceptance of this sort of discrimination into our healthcare laws will only make these issues for our community worse, because it will make LGBTQ+ people even less likely to seek medical help when we need it.
Imagine the frustration of going to the doctor’s office for a routine checkup, or something basic like a flu shot, only to be denied care on the basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Worse still, picture an emergency scenario like a car accident, a burst appendix, or a heart attack—scenarios in which immediate medical help must be given to save a life. If these proposed changes are made to our healthcare laws, it will be left in the hands of medical providers to make the decision whether or not to treat LGBTQ+ individuals, or to shuffle them to another provider who might end up doing the same.
As a community, we cannot afford to have our very lives left up to individual opinions as to whether or not we should be allowed to exist.
Luckily, these changes have not gone into effect yet, and there will be a comment period until August 13, 2019, to record public opinions regarding these changes.
Please follow this link to the Center Action Network’s portal to add your name and share your story about how these changes might impact your life.
Our access to healthcare should not be up for debate, and we cannot and will not stop fighting until this issue is put to rest.