Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LGBTQ advocates sound the alarm about 'Trumpcare' bill

It goes without saying that the GOP bill designed to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something awful has caused a lot of anger from many Americans. I was wondering when the LGBTQ leadership would start raising hell over it. Apparently, now is the time.

From The Washington Blade:

LGBT rights supporters held a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to raise awareness about the bill, which seeks to phase out the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare to pay for a tax cut mostly for the wealthiest Americans. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the legislation would have a “devastating impact” on LGBT people because they’re disproportionately affected by health disparities. “Both the House and Senate versions of the bill gut core provisions of the ACA, cut off tens of millions of Americans life-saving health care coverage while increasing out-of-pocket costs,” Griffin said.

. . .Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said during the conference she’s “deeply concerned” about the bill’s impact on transgender people “and their very lives.” “We are outraged that congressional leaders and the president would disrupt and endanger so many lives just apparently to say that they passed a bill and to give hundreds of billions of dollars to the people who need it the least,” Keisling said. Keisling also took Trumpcare to task for a proposal to bar Medicaid repayments for health services at Planned Parenthood, which she said is often the only option for transgender people seeking care.

Another reason why the LGBTQ community should be concerned about the bill deals with its potential to - as the South Florida Gay News puts it - "devastate people with HIV."

In a recent joint letter to senators, 133 HIV organizations stressed that the bill that passed the House without a single Democratic vote on May 4 “would return America to a time when health care coverage was out of reach for too many people with HIV.” The letter lavishes scorn on the bill (which the Senate will apparently jettison in favor of starting from scratch) for its billions of dollars of cuts to traditional Medicaid programs; phasing out of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA, or Obamacare) expanded Medicaid programs; erosion of key protections against health-plan-related discrimination that benefit people with HIV; and problematic changes to the formula for determining subsidies for the premiums of private health plans obtained on the open, or “nongroup,” market.

 . . .The May 24 release of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimating the AHCA’s impact sent a bruising message that, compared with projections based on the current health care law, 14 million fewer Americans would have health insurance in 2018, a figure that would swell to 19 million by 2020 and 23 million by 2026. (These projections do not factor in the president’s proposed budget cuts that affect health care.) In 2026, the estimated number of uninsured people younger than 65 (and therefore largely ineligible for Medicare) would be 51 million, compared with a projected 28 million if Obamacare were left intact. 
This loss of health insurance would disproportionately affect older people with lower incomes, in particular those between 50 and 64 years of age with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), or $24,120 for individuals. Given demographic trends, such a bias against late-middle-aged people with chronic health conditions would likely have a considerable impact on the aging U.S. HIV population, which tends to be lower income. While just one third of those living with the virus were 50 or older in 2010, that proportion is expected to rise to one half by 2020. Currently, only a sliver of U.S. residents with HIV are 65 or older and therefore have access to Medicare (neither the president’s budget nor the AHCA target that program). Even by 2030, only a fifth of the HIV population is expected to be in their senior years.

The bill was worked on in secret by the GOP leadership and didn't even have any hearings. It was to be voted on this week. However, after a huge groundswell of negative reactions from all sides, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McMconnell is having problems finding the votes to pass it. It will be voted on after the July 4 holiday.

I would suggest that those in our community who like to educate via public demonstrations and the like get on their J-O-B between now and then.

Photo taken from May 4, 2017 Unicornbooty article  3 Ways ‘Trumpcare’ Will Hurt HIV-Positive and LGBTQ Americans

'Anti-LGBTQ right gets partial victory from Guidestar' & other Tue midday news briefs

Charity website cites threats in removing hate group labels - After controversy, charity web page Guidestar will back away from its labeling some organizations as hate groups. While the right is spinning it as a complete capitulation, it's not exactly that. The web page will make the information available to those who request it, which is still a good thing. For the purpose of my blog, I don't necessarily call it a loss. It's just a forward step in creating an ACCURATE nationwide conversation on the decades-long smearing of LGBTQ people by pseudo-morality groups under the veneer of "personally held religious beliefs." We will have that nationwide conversation sooner or later.

Supreme Court actions show just how fragile LGBTQ equality still is - Yes it does. And it reason number one million and one why the LGBTQ community cannot ignore religious right groups and their supporters. Every victory we get is just the entryway to a new battle.

Neil Gorsuch Is The Anti-LGBTQ Nightmare His Gay Friends Hoped He Wasn’t - Meet reason number one for news brief two. I can only hope this changes, but Michelangelo Signorile is pretty good about these things.

 Visibility Is at the Heart of LGBTQ Politics. But Is It Always the Best Strategy? - That's a good question in light of the fact that some in our community think that visibility only entails showing one's proverbial ass and suddenly everything will move in our direction.

How The Christian Right Turned the Good News into Fake News - I love this post.