(Washington, DC, June 13, 2017)—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) delivered a letter to the U.S. Senate urging them not to gut access to healthcare. More than 60 LGBTQ organizations, representing millions of LGBTQ people across the country, signed onto this letter sharing deep concerns for the health of our community. The letter notes that the Congressional Budget Office has projected that repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would result in 14 million Americans losing health insurance by 2018 and 23 million by 2026. It also spells out dire consequences for the LGBTQ community related to proposed changes to the ban on preexisting conditions, Medicaid, cuts to Planned Parenthood, the elimination of the Public Health and Prevention Fund, and more.
“United States Senators are quietly making edits now to one of the most rushed, damaging pieces of legislation in our nation’s history,” said Kate Kendell, executive director at NCLR, the organization that co-authored this letter to the Senate with HRC. “Today, more than 60 LGBTQ organizations came together to send a message to the U.S. Senate outlining severe and specific harms that would be faced by our LGBTQ community members. We cannot allow Congress to turn back the clock and endanger our community by cutting off critical access to care. This bill cannot become law. We must fight against healthcare repeal as though we are fighting for our lives—because we are.”
Key points within the letter include:
- Under key ACA reforms, such as the ban on preexisting conditions, many LGBTQ people were able to obtain health insurance for the first time in their lives; eliminating this ban could return LGBTQ people to previous uninsured rates. Prior to the ACA, LGBTQ people had some of lowest insurance rates of any group in the U.S.
- The recently proposed $880 billion in federal cuts to state Medicaid programs would result in swift and devastating impacts on women and children, persons living with HIV, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- The proposed removal of Planned Parenthood and its affiliated clinics from essential public health programs will jeopardize access to preventive and culturally competent LGB and trans-affirming healthcare, especially for community members who are isolated by geography and/or poverty in rural areas. The AHCA would disproportionately impact people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, and young people.
- The proposed elimination of the Public Health and Prevention Fund will undercut the ability to detect and respond to infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C and other public health threats.
The full text of the letter and list of organizations signed on in support is available here: http://bit.ly/AHCAlgbtq