Last weekend marked the House’s passage of a landmark piece of health care reform legislation, which contains many LGBT-centered benefits.
HB 3962, also known as the Affordable Health Care for America Act, passed by a 220 to 215 vote Saturday. It provides for the Department of Health and Human Services to begin acknowledging the “health disparities” in several groups, including the LGBT community.
The reform bill allows for low-income, HIV-infected individuals to achieve Medicare eligibility earlier in the course of their illness. It also ends unjust taxation on the health care benefits provided to the partners of gay employees.
Most importantly, the bill outlaws health-care discrimination based upon “personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.” According to Jerilyn Goodman, spokesperson for Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the umbrella-phrase “personal characteristics” is meant to encompass sexual and gender minorities.
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— Zachary Culler