As a Christmas gift to drug companies (or something), the U.S. Senate has finally, after lots of fingerpointing, death panel accusations, and calling for the demise of nonagenarian Sen. Byrd, passed a sweeping healthcare reform bill in a party-line 60-39 vote. The New York Times calls it a “reinvent[ion]” of the healthcare system. There are some great things in here, like prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage based on an existing health condition, or dropping a client if you, uh, get sick. But just guess how many of these very reasonable suggestions to improve healthcare for LGBTs were included? Or will be included when the House passes its version?
As far as we can tell, there’s nothing in this ginormous bill about shared health benefits for same-sex couples; about prohibiting discrimination based on sexuality orientation and gender identity; or money set aside to research the specific health needs of LGBTs.
Could a bill like this ever be a panacea to America’s healthcare problems? No. We never it expected it to. And you are foolish if you thought it could. But given the bill passed with all 60 Democrats voting for it — and that being the only reason it could become law — it’s disappointing to see some of the elected officials we helped put in office once again turn their backs on the LGBT community by not demanding, or even pressing harder for, some of our needs.
(Pictured: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, who did not vote for the bill.)