Alex Blaze

Tammy Baldwin introduces LGBT health care bill

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 24, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Ending Health Disparities for LGBT Americans Act, health care reform, LGBT, queer, study, Tammy Baldwin

Wow. After participating in the Congressional Progressive Caucus's ideological coup to stand solid against any health care reform without a strong public option, Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation to deal with LGBT health care issues:

Baldwin's Ending Health Disparities for LGBT Americans Act would be the first comprehensive approach to establish nondiscrimination policies for all federal health programs, according to a statement released on Tuesday. It would also fund training for health care providers, extend Medicare benefits to domestic partners, create an office of LGBT Health within the Department of Health and Human Services, and fund local health centers that specialize in LGBT services.

"Our current health care system fails LGBT Americans on many levels," Baldwin said. "Although we have ample anecdotal evidence of these disparities, the federal government lacks even the most basic data on sexual orientation and gender identity and health. This bill invests in research and takes critical steps towards improving the health of LGBT Americans and their families."

Would "nondiscrimination policies" for "all federal health programs" include the public option should that end up being created? One can only hope - there's enough discrimination against queer patients going on in the private insurance world that shouldn't be replicated in a public option.

It would also provide those federal employee health benefits to same-sex partners that people were so upset that Obama's memo last week didn't extend. Since they were mad about the exclusion of the much-needed health care benefits themselves, not as a personal insult that came from an issue they don't even care about, I'm sure we'll hear these same people start supporting this bill any minute now....

And funding research into health care disparities would help tremendously to know just what's going on when it comes to health care discrimination, a subject that could definitely use some credible data to address.

There's really no downside to this bill, and it's great that Tammy Baldwin introduced it. Now to get it passed....

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Thank you for your detailed coverage of the health care reform debate, Alex! I've been reading all of your posts on the topic. And hooray (once again) for Congresswoman Baldwin.

Will this bill essentially repeal the amendment in the Americans with Disabilities Act that specifically excludes transsexual as well as homosexual people (along with a number of other ridiculous divisions) from enjoying its protection? That amendment is one of the most heinous acts of Congress, courtesy of Jesse Helms and his cohorts, that have ever been perpetrated against our community.

I hope Ms Baldwin took this amendment into consideration when she wrote her health care bill.