Politics masquerading as legislating as House votes to repeal Affordable Care Act

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the House today voted 244-185 to repeal the law. The House has repeatedly voted to defund, dismantle and repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Task Force Action Fund advocated for passage of the health care reform law.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:

There they go again. House leadership’s fixation on dismantling health care reform that is already helping millions of Americans is truly obscene. They’ve now tried this more than 30 times, wasting energy and resources when they should be focusing on getting people back to work.

Seriously, they’ve got some gall to sit in their cushy offices, paid for by taxpayers like you and me — with health care benefits heavily subsidized by taxpayers like you and me — and then march out to the floor to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Everyone should have access to decent and affordable health care, not just a few politicians up on the Hill.

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 safe. It is about making sure everyone has access to affordable health care when faced with injury and illness. The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was a victory for millions of people — including LGBT people and our families. This House vote, however, is just another blatant example of politics masquerading as legislating.

The Affordable Care Act and LGBT people

There are many provisions in the health care reform law with a substantial impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. These provisions include:

  • The Affordable Care Act extends 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.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services 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, 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.