Thursday, November 19, 2009

Health Care Reform is a GBT Issue - Call Your Senator TODAY

via the Gay Men's Health Agenda

Want to get involved? Send the group and email.

Take Action – Call Your Senator, and let her/him know that you want full health care reform that includes the needs of gay, bi and trans men.

Below are the toll free numbers for the national congressional switch board:

They will transfer you to your senator, all you need to do is give them the state you live in.

We now stand at a critical juncture in our movement. Never before has the discussion been so primed for action and major victories been so close to our grasp. It is truly a transformative time, where the work we accomplish now will have effects for decades to come. So please stay involved, stay committed and remember it is our health we are fighting for.

Here is a great article on the connection between gay men’s health and health care reform.

Key Issues (great for talking points)

Healthcare reform must be fully GBT-inclusive.

Social stigma and systemic discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression have significant negative impacts on the overall health of gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) men. GBT men suffer disproportionately from the adverse health effects of stigma, stress, and violence, further compounded by the barriers that prevent them from accessing vital healthcare services even for routine care: research has consistently shown that being GBT substantially impacts whether or not a person receives care and, when they do receive care, whether that care effectively speaks to all aspects of their lives. In order to begin to address these disparities, any healthcare reform must be fully GBT-inclusive.

Removing Pre-Exisitng Conditions from Coverage is a Priority.

Due to widespread employment discrimination and lack of relationship recognition, GBT men are more likely to be without prior insurance coverage and are thus disproportionately affected by practices that preclude or limit coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Many transgender individuals with a previous diagnosis or history of treatment for transsexualism report being excluded outright from purchasing even basic individual coverage for routine care. In addition, due to experiences of stigma or discrimination, GBT individuals are less likely overall to have accessed ongoing preventive healthcare or early diagnostic services. For both physical and mental conditions that exact a high toll in the GBT population, late diagnosis and treatment lead to a higher prevalence of serious, advanced-stage disease and ultimately to excessive mortality.

We Must Be Counted!

Historically, health data collection efforts have not included GBT populations or gathered information regarding the specific healthcare needs of GBT men. To address this lack of data, all new or updated national forms or data collection tools must be made inclusive of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. In addition, all efforts to track or redress health disparities must include GBT men as a health disparities population, and efforts to identify cost-effective healthcare protocols must include sensitivity to the health needs and outcomes of the LGBT community.

Health Care Reform Must Include Non-Discrimination Provisions

GBT individuals and their families must be able to access the full range of services they require, delivered by providers who are sensitive to their needs, and any form of healthcare that is regulated or monitored by the federal government must be required to be permanently GBT-inclusive.

A Robust Public Option is a GBT Issue.

Enacting healthcare coverage for everyone in the United States is an important step in eliminating healthcare disparities for the GBT population. The current system of employer-based coverage is a barrier to many, since so few employers extend coverage eligibility to same-sex partners. In addition, the lack of employment protections based on gender identity and expression results in a high rate of unemployment in the transgender community and further reduces access to insurance coverage.

Your voices helped to ensure the passage of the GBT provisions within the House bill and now it’s time to take our fight to the Senate.

Thanks you for your involvement,

The GMHA Leadership Core
Jim Pickett
Cornelius Baker
Chris Bartlett
Stewart Landers
Kaijson Noilmar

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