Press

Task Force applauds Supreme Court ruling upholding Affordable Care Act

Date: 
June 28, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT:

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, June 28 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Task Force advocated for the passage of the historic health care reform law.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"This ruling is a victory for millions of people — including LGBT people and our families — who don't have access to adequate, affordable health care. Health care reform is about revamping a severely broken system to help everyone get a fair shake when it comes to keeping themselves and their families healthy and out of harm's way. It is about making sure everyone has access to affordable health care when faced with injury and illness. It is based on the premise that no one get hung out to dry — to literally die in some cases — because they were denied affordable health care in one of the richest countries in the world.

"This ruling is fair and humane, but it also reminds us of the work that remains to be done. People of color and economically impoverished people are disproportionately affected by health inequities. We have also long known that LGBT people — particularly LGBT people of color — suffer from higher rates of health disparities, and we continue to press for reform that addresses the stark realities that many of us face every day. This advocacy includes urging the Department of Health and Human Services to use its authority to make inroads in areas such as data collection and research on LGBT health disparities. We celebrate today, but also pledge to keep pressing forward."

The Affordable Care Act and LGBT people

There are many provisions in the health care reform law with a substantial impact on LGBT people. These provisions include:

  • The Affordable Care Act extended federal nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sex to the health care system for the first time. Courts and federal agencies have ruled that these protections safeguard transgender people from discrimination.
  • HHS has begun the process of developing and adding sexual orientation and gender identity questions to national health surveys, to help better understand LGBT health disparities.
  • Starting in 2014, insurance companies cannot deny health care coverage simply because of a pre-existing condition, which will ensure people with HIV or who have received gender transition-related care will still be able to get the health care coverage they need.
  • Starting in January 2014, each state must have a Health Benefit Exchange, a health insurance "supermarket" where individuals and families can buy quality health care plans at an affordable price. No state's exchange may discriminate against consumers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Same-sex couples can search for health plans that offer coverage for domestic partners through the Health Plan Finder tool at www.healthcare.gov.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

–30–

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country's premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. © 2012, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.