toss ups

Is Obama’s Healthcare Plan As Bad for Gays as Ronald Reagan’s?


With the Senate’s healthcare bill securing 60 party-line votes to assure its passage out of one chamber of Congress, here comes the argument that the Democrat-led reform effort still doesn’t plug all the gaps needed by LGBT Americans. Like how queers are more often insane in the brain, and Obamacare is doing nothing to fix it!

There are lots of problems between LGBTs and the health care. Like, how it’s more expensive for us, and sometimes impossible to attain. And that there’s sparse government data being collected to enact change anytime soon. The Center for American Progress’s LGBT division head Jeff Krehely argues that under the Obama administration, nothing more is being done for us than Reagan did.

President Ronald Reagan jeopardized the lives of millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans by failing to commit federal attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. President Barack Obama should learn from Reagan’s mistakes and attack the health problems LGBT people face today.

[…] First, LGBT Americans experience substantially reduced access to employer-provided health insurance. Second, for those who have coverage, many face a health care system that still lacks a cultural competence to treat their unique needs. And finally, all LGBT Americans, covered or not, still face the incessant, harmful social stigma that exists against LGBT people in our society.

There is also a lack of knowledge about the LGBT community’s health needs, and influential policymakers and advocates aren’t properly armed with information to implement effective policies and allocate the necessary resources to solve them. The main reason for this is that no national government surveys include questions related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

At the state level, only a handful of states regularly ask questions about sexual orientation. And to date only Massachusetts includes a question on gender identity in any government health survey.

Except the “LGBT-specific” health problems he lays out are the very type that right-wing bigots — Peter Labarbera, Tony Perkins, Richard Cohen — will point to as the very reason homos need to be shown the light back to heterosexuality.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are twice as likely to experience psychological distress as their straight counterparts. They are more than twice as likely to need medication to treat emotional health issues, many of which are induced by those stresses.

Their transgender counterparts are in more acute danger from mental illnesses. They are 25 times more likely to have suicidal ideations than heterosexuals and 10 times more likely than lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults — who already suffer from elevated risk levels — to endure this suffering. And only one-third of African-American lesbians have received a mammogram in the past two years–the lowest screening rate of all demographic groups.

The dangers that affect LGBT youth are equally concerning. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are three-and-a-half times more likely to attempt suicide, and many health experts would argue that the rate for transgender youth is probably much higher — as it is for their adult counterparts.

So in a nutshell, or how critics will read it: LGBTs are crazy persons who are trying to off themselves faster than gay bashers can. Get these folks some treatment!

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  • romeo

    Really, Queerty, your framing of this story is one of the most negative and, frankly, one of the crudest wordings, of any of the stories you’ve done. I know you’ve got to elicit a reaction to get a hit count, but did you have to make it look like we’re deserving of the shit we face in the world? It’s the shit we face in the world that makes so many gays so fragile.

    But incidentally, it was that shit that made a lot of us stronger.

  • Boulder

    Thanks, Jeff Krehely. Emphasize all of our differences. Keep going until you make it sound like we’re a different species, one that cannot be treated by your normal human healthcare system. Oh, and while you’re at it, reinforce the stale, dangerous idea that HIV/AIDS is a gay disease.

    That’s what I call progress.

  • McShane

    What a strange and problematic position from Mr. Krehely et al. I can’t say any better what Boulder and Romeo(above) said. Only to say that while we are different, outlining that as weakness and special incapacity is just feeding any the degree that here is one.

    Ifthere is any problem with the Health Care Legislation , itis the absence of a public option, whichwould make the effort a success.

  • vitamine

    If these stats are true, why not talk about them and where they come from? There’s a reason why our community has higher suicide ideation and psychological distress: homophobia. Where does homophobia come from? Everywhere. But most clearly from people like Labarbera, Perkins, Cohen, etc. Why not acknowledge the truth and place blame appropriately rather than trying to avoid it so we can appear normal to all the assholes who make our lives harder?

  • Raspy

    Boulder, did you even read the original reports? the author goes out of his way to show that lgbt people aren’t just messed up (ummm…or a different species), but that the negative health outcomes are just that — OUTCOMES. something causes them, and the report does a decent job of outlining what those somethings are. I’m with Vitamine, if this is what life looks like for many of us, then we need to talk about it and do something, not just pretend everything is ok.

  • eagledancer

    When my Domestic Partner left his job at his Fortune 500 company, he was eligible for COBRA in terms of his health care, but I was not. This was in San Francisco, where his company and the city recognized our relationship, and I had health care coverage through his position—as a Domestic Partner. But COBRA is a “Federal” reality…and thanks to DOMA, federal law doesn’t recognize Domestic Partnerships, so I lost my health care coverage. If we were married, I would have also been covered by COBRA. Has any one notice if this has been brought up in any of the health care reforms?

  • Q

    They fail to see that all these emotional and psychological problems faced by the LGBT community are because of the social stigma, and this kind of segregation against the LGBT community. These members of the community present such problems due to a lack of feeling socially accepted, because they feel amoral or because the believe that their orientation is evil and unnatural. If more efforts were made to close the gap between Gay and Straight, these issues wouldn’t occur as often. Right? Or maybe that’s just me. Yes, I am in the Closet of Doom. Not for much longer, hopefully.

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