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2010-03-15: Health Care Reform IS an LGBT Issue! Get Involved Today!

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Action Alert from the National Coalition for LGBT Health

We are at an unprecedented point in the process of national health care reform: the House of Representatives plans to vote on its reform bill, the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), TOMORROW, Saturday, November 7.

It is crucial for the LGBT community that this bill passes with a strong majority. The House bill includes numerous provisions that are key to the health and well-being of our community, including:
--->a strong public option that greatly expands coverage
--->data collection that includes sexual orientation
--->gender identity strict prohibitions on discrimination in health care and insurance coverage.

Our community is the under- and uninsured. We are seniors and youth, women, people of color, immigrants, people living with HIV and AIDS, and transgender people. We are too often discriminated against by insurance companies and health care providers and denied the care that we need. The status quo harms our community and our families, and we deserve better.

Additional LGBT provisions included in the House bill heading to the floor this weekend:
--->A Fix to the Unequal Taxation of Domestic Partner Benefits:
Unlike spousal benefits, employer-provided domestic partner health benefits are treated as income for tax purposes, resulting in unequal tax burdens for employees with same-sex partners and for fair-minded employers who provide the benefits.
DP Tax is part of the House health reform bill moving to floor consideration.

--->Early Treatment for HIV under Medicaid:
Under Medicaid, low-income individuals must develop full blown AIDS in order to obtain coverage. Early HIV treatment would save money, reduce infections and improve quality of life.
A version of ETHA, limited as a three-year program, was included in the House health reform bill which is moving to floor consideration.

--->Comprehensive Sex Education:
Historically, while more than $1 billion has been spent on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, no federal funds have been available for comprehensive sex education programs, which also emphasize the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Included in the House health reform bill which is moving to floor consideration is a provision which creates a federal grant program for evidence-based sex education efforts that are aimed at abstinence, reducing teen pregnancies, decreasing sexually transmitted diseases or increasing contraceptive use.
Tell your Representatives to pass LGBT-inclusive health care reform NOW.

Here are three ways to support the Affordable Health Care for America Act:

1. GATHER People Together. Hold a community call-in night at a local community center or your home. Tell people to come with their cell phones charged up and spend the evening calling toll-free 1-877-264-HCAN (1-877-264-4226), contacting their Representatives to push for passage of the House bill.

2. CALL Your Representatives. Use that toll-free number 1-877-264-HCAN (1-877-264-4226) to call your Representatives and ask them to support the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

3. EMAIL Your Representatives. Send your legislators a letter pushing for the passage of the House bill stressing that a strong public option, LGBT-inclusive data collection, and clear nondiscrimination provisions are especially important to LGBT people.