Today, The US Supreme Court ruled to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act including the Personal Responsibility Provision.
This landmark ruling will have a profound impact on the ability of all Americans to access health care, and LGBT people in particular, because the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provisions and prohibitions on unfair insurance practices provide unprecedented protections for LGBT people’s access to safe and affordable care.
This ruling will mean that thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Oregonians will have access to critical health care and will not be forced to access more costly forms of care such as emergency room visits. This is hugely important for people who identify as transgender or those with HIV or AIDS, who are routinely denied coverage.
Some of the most critical protections for LGBT Oregonians that this ruling will protect include:
- Pre-Existing care: Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and frequently denied coverage or charge higher premiums to people with a transgender medical history or those with HIV or AIDS.
- Access to health care: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans are much less likely to be insured, and partnered gay and lesbian couples are as much as twice as likely to be uninsured than opposite-sex couples. Without consistent access to marriage or domestic partnerships across the country, gay and lesbian couples are less able to access employer-sponsored insurance through their partners.
- Preventive health care: Transgender people face unique barriers to employment, making it less likely they’ll be insured. A recent survey found 90% of uninsured transgender Americans delayed seeking health care when sick or injured because they can’t afford it.
We applaud today’s ruling and look forward to constructing a health care system that lives up to Oregon’s promise of equality and that meets the needs of our most vulnerable community members. One of Basic Rights Oregon’s primary campaigns is focused on bringing full transgender health care equality to Oregon, and this ruling will help move this work forward.