I have barely posted anything about health care now that the "debate" (if you will) is in full-swing all over the country. It's partly because I figure that an issue that's being covered everywhere doesn't need any help from me now, but also because all the news has been so damn depressing on this front. The bill keeps on getting compromised, so much so that the bill that just came out of the Senate Finance Committee is just one big love letter to the insurance industry. So I'm just waiting to see what actually passes, if the CPC holds the caucus line, what happens to the bill in conference, and if Obama's technocratic claim to support "what works" actually means anything.
But it's still the big LGBT issue. Tammy Baldwin explains how:
I'd go a bit further and say that we have less access to health care and health services not just because we can't get married (although I'm sure that's a small part of the problem), but also because we're more likely to work crappier jobs because we can be discriminated against almost everywhere (and are discriminated against everywhere) and because we're more likely to be homeless. I don't really know what the bill would do for homeless people's health care options, considering that it functions on the basis of an individual mandate where people are required to get health coverage and then get tax credits later if they need some help (too bad single-payer was taken off the table by Clinton, Edwards, and Obama back in the primaries), but it would help people who are just getting paid less or working at a job that doesn't currently provide health coverage.
Here's a story that high-lights a special need for health care reform among LGBT people. Even if the person in this story isn't gay (it doesn't say), HIV is still 50 times more prevalent among gay and bi men and that's a pre-existing condition that can get your coverage rescinded even if you one day want an insurer to cover a cancer procedure:
One year later, Mitchell tried to donate blood to the Red Cross, which informed Mitchell that he was HIV-positive. Mitchell's doctor confirmed this finding.
Fortis investigated Mitchell's medical history and rescinded his policy, stating that Mitchell had misrepresented his HIV-positive status.
Mitchell sued for breach of contract and bad faith and presented evidence that he would die of AIDS within four years without medical treatment.
This guy won his case (7 years later), but few people actually do. Maybe they should put that on HIV educational posters as a scare tactic: You might not think HIV is a big deal what with the drugs and all that are available now, but it'll make you pretty much uninsurable for the rest of your life!
Baldwin's right - we are less likely to have access to health care and we are less likely to have a positive outcome from the health care system. But the way this "debate" has turned, I don't know if they'll actually end up doing anything about that. Being forced to buy junk insurance with a high deductible that covers only the bare minimum, all for a tax credit that'll appear a year later, won't solve a queer kid who got kicked out of his parents' home inability to access to health care.
And, for the record, I don't blame the Know-Nothings showing up at town hall meetings for derailing this process (if it is in fact "derailed"). The idiocy we're seeing in Congress now is the same as it ever was - our government is bought and paid for by CIGNA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and all the other giant insurers and pharmaceutical firms out there who make up about 5% of the American economy. The town hall idiots are a minority of the people going to those meetings and only a minority of those meetings has a group of idiots show up.
There is no popular movement against health care reform, only a bunch of wealthy people who want the looting to continue and politicians who want to the donations to keep on flowing. Blaming the town hall idiots is, again, a divide-and-conquer strategy set to make us blame other poor people with no power instead of directing our attention to the ones actually turning the cranks. Because town hall idiots or no town hall idiots, if our government wasn't receiving $1.4 million a day from health insurance lobbyists, single payer would have passed months ago.
The crazy talk from Republicans, the lame excuses from "fiscal conservatives" who want to keep spending on health care high, and endless compromising by Democrats has nothing to do with a few dudes with "Obama=Hitler" signs and everything to do with keeping their cash cow.