Thursday, June 28, 2012

Affordable Care Act Upheld! - A Win for LGBT People and their Families


Today the Supreme Court, in 5-4 decision, voted to uphold the key ACA provisions, limiting only the federal government to terminate states' Medicaid funding. This decision is a huge victory for LGBT communities. We celebrate this historic decision and the progress it provides for LGBT people, their families, and the nation. This law will hugely benefit LGBT people and over 30 million Americans in the coming years. 

Today’s decision reflects PFLAG’s mission to promote the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends. By prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and preexisting conditions, the ACA enhances the quality of life for LGBT people and their families. Quality and affordable health care for all promotes the integral and basic human rights that all people deserve. While we celebrate this ruling, we look towards continued PFLAG support, education and advocacy for LGBT equality that will lead to a society in which all people may enjoy full civil and legal equality.

As Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius noted, “the Affordable Care Act may represent the strongest foundation we have ever created to begin closing LGBT health disparities.” The law works to close financial barriers to insurance coverage and prohibit discrimination in the insurance market. For the first time, the ACA will ban gender-based discrimination by most health care providers, providing essential protection for LGBT people. The law will also prohibit insurers from denying or canceling insurance because a person is transgender or has HIV or another medical condition. It requires plans to cover a range of key services, and prohibits co-pays for many routine tests and other preventive care. And the law has tremendous potential to impact the fight against HIV/AIDS by expanding access to testing and treatment and supporting community prevention efforts.

Take Action. Under the Affordable Care Act, it is illegal for any health program or organization that is funded or administered by the federal government to discriminate against you because you are or are perceived to be LGBT. Additionally, this law offers the Patient’s Bill of Rights that puts an end to a number of unfair insurance practices, including dropping enrollees from coverage once they get sick and refusing to offer people coverage because of pre-existing conditions, which may be particularly important for transgender and gender non-conforming people. If you have endured healthcare discrimination, you can file a claim with the federal government’s Office for Civil Rights at HHS by filing online: www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/complaints/discrimhowtofile.pdf and sending to the appropriate regional office, or emailing it toOCRComplaint@hhs.gov

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