With all the hub-bub in the straight media this week over Obama's health care proposal cutting the public option (I guess the White House isn't even going to pretend to support a popular cost-cutting measure anymore if it displeases the health care industry), community media points out that most of the LGBT provisions got cut:
Most LGBT and HIV activists had supported the House bill because it included key LGBT specific provisions, including provisions. In addition to the data collection, it prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the provision of health care; enabled people with HIV and low incomes to obtain Medicare coverage earlier in the course of their illness; and eliminated the tax that gay employees must pay if their same-sex partners or spouses receive health coverage from their employers' plan. Straight employees don't pay that tax but, for gay couples, the coverage is characterized by the federal government as additional income for the gay employee.
This stuff isn't that controversial. Starting Medicare coverage earlier for people with HIV seems to be something that would help everyone. Banning discrimination in health care is probably something most straight people think has already happened. And the last item is an obscure tax provision that wouldn't cost too much money but is a completely fair change to the system.
The only people who'd care about any of these would be the FOTF and AFA sorts, which are too busy whining that not even the far right pays attention to them anymore as the Tea Baggers are just wingnuts who put down their crosses and picked up Confederate flags. If anything, now's the time for these proposals.
Discrimination against LGBT people in health care is still rampant:
The survey included questions about the following types of discrimination in care: being refused needed care; health care professionals refusing to touch patients or using excessive precautions; health care professionals using harsh or abusive language; being blamed for one's health status; or health care professionals being physically rough or abusive. According to the results, almost 56 percent of lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) respondents had at least one of these experiences; 70 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming respondents had one or more of these experiences; and nearly 63 percent of respondents living with HIV experienced one or more of these types of discrimination in health care. We found that not only did sexual orientation or serostatus affect the respondents' access to quality health care, but transgender or gender-nonconforming respondents faced discrimination two to three times more frequently than lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents. In nearly every category, a higher proportion of respondents who are people of color and/or low-income reported experiencing discriminatory and substandard care. Close to 33 percent of low-income transgender and gender-nonconforming respondents reported being refused care because of their gender identity and almost a quarter of low-income respondents living with HIV reported being denied care.
In addition to instances of discrimination, respondents also reported a high degree of anticipation and belief that they would face discriminatory care. Overall, 9 percent of LGB respondents are concerned about being refused medical services when they need them and 20 percent of respondents living with HIV and over half of transgender and gender-nonconforming respondents share this same concern. Nearly half of LGB respondents and respondents living with HIV and almost 90 percent of transgender respondents believe there are not enough medical personnel who are properly trained to care for them. These barriers to care may result in poorer health outcomes because of delays in diagnosis, treatment or preventive measures.
Sounds like a problem that could use solving to me. Over half of LGBT people have experienced discrimination in health care (I'd be in the out-group, but that's because I don't have coverage when I'm in the US and I don't present in a way that most people read as gay, especially in France where the average straight man... well), and I doubt there's a large group of people out there who'd be supportive of health care reform generally but just wouldn't be able to get past that anti-discrimination provision.
Tammy Baldwin is quoted in the article saying that this "is not the final word." She's right, although it'll probably be taken as the left-most word, and now it'll have to be compromised with the Republicans so that the Democrats will fall in line to get enough votes to pass it, even through reconciliation.
The idea that Congress will add back in these proposals, with the Senate bill already rejecting them and the White House now effectively saying they're off the table, seems unlikely to me. It's too bad, since it's not like the LGBT community's going to want to agitate for this legislation later.