BY KIMBERLEIGH SMITH AND WINN PERIYASAMY
Truly universal comprehensive health care is critical to the goal of equity for all and should be a primary objective today’s LGBTQ agenda.
Like many marginalized communities, LGBTQ people still face major gaps in insurance access, with the Center on American Progress finding that at least 15 percent still lack insurance post-Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. However, health issues impacting this community cannot be managed without proper access to care. Barriers to accessing health care, especially for the treatment of chronic health conditions, can prevent timely treatment and result in ultimately worsened health.
While the ACA expanded access to care and provided discrimination protections for LGBTQ communities, coverage is not universal and stigma still exists. LGBTQ patients continue to experience discrimination when accessing health services and, if denied treatment, often have trouble finding alternative services. In a recent Center on American Progress survey, among patients discussing experiences of visiting health care providers, nearly 10 percent of LGBQ and nearly 30 percent of transgender patients reported being refused care because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Such interactions can prevent patients from receiving treatment, with more than one if five transgender patients reporting they avoided or postponed needed treatment due to discrimination.