by Cheryl Courtney-Evans
posted July 5, 2012
"abitchforjustice": It would be generally agreed that the common, everyday TBGL individual is grossly under insured (IF insured at all), with the "T" of the acronym criminally so.
How many times has one of our number been ill, or been physically abused [beaten/bashed], and had to go to a hospital? Were they able to list an insurance company to handle the cost or just depend on the service afforded to "indigents", with the tax dollars of the state footing the bill and the hospital kicking them out at the earliest possible time (even if they've not fully recovered)? How many of us have been unable to access insurance because (besides the cost) they view 'transsexualism' as a "pre-existing" condition they refuse to deal with?
Well the Affordable Health Care Act [commonly known as "Obamacare", even by Pres. Obama], has made an historical attempt to rectify ALL of that. While it admittedly might stand a few 'tweaks' in the future, right now it is MILES ahead of the existing health care/insurance system in the United States.
While conservafool Rethuglicans have spent millions of dollars on negative publicity and pushing distortions to miseducate the American populace about the "government takeover of our health care", just the opposite is true.
The truth is (when Obamacare is fully implemented by 2014), if one already has insurance (and they're satisfied with it) they can keep it. If not, they're required to buy insurance provided through federally funded/established "Exchanges [markets]" in the various state locations at an AFFORDABLE rate (those who refuse will be required to pay a penalty/tax [as determined by the Supreme Court to be Constitutional]). However, IF your income is below 133% of the poverty level, an expanded Medicaid system (if/when it's accepted by the governors of the states) will allow you access & coverage. (In most cases it is just this "poverty population" that will include the rank and file GNC [aka TGBL] community.) The federal government will fund 100% of this expanded Medicaid system for the first year, and 95% of it afterward. Rethuglican governors are vowing to refuse this extra money for the expanded system [so far].
RIGHT NOW, older people (somewhere around 3,000,000) are already reaping the benefits through a provision in this law that is financially closing the "doughnut hole" of prescription medicines their Medicare hasn't been covering, children are no longer able to be refused insurance due to "pre-existing conditions" and young people (and students) are being covered by their parents' insurance until they reach the age of 26.
"So," you may ask, "how is all this going to affect me as a transgender?"
The benefits that will affect us as transgenders specifically (besides that mentioned above) are:
1) By 2014 we cannot be refused coverage merely because we're transsexual or HIV+ (or
other "pre-existing conditions").
2) For those of us who don't qualify for Medicaid (which will be determined by income,
rather than medical condition), "credit premiums" will be provided to buy insurance at
the Exchanges [there will be education and instruction prior, so we'll know how to
3) Insurance companies must provide free preventive care (checkups, doctors' visits,
4) It will be illegal [federally] for any provider to discriminate if receiving feral funding
(if you experience discrimination, you may file a complaint with the Dept. of Health &
a) We may not know for a few years if trans-related care/procedures will be covered
by non-discrimination laws...we'll be waiting to see how that comes out.
5) There will be expanded data collection on health care disparities; there will be gender
identity questions on national surveys to make sure that our population is included in
solutions to correcting those disparities.
a) Trans folks MUST become involved in this effort; if you hear about any of this data
collection in your area, make it your business to get connected.
6) Federal funding will be provided for expanded outreach to the TBGL community (will
be providing education about the system at the state level to insure that we are aware
of how to gain access).
These are just a few of the "talking points" that I see as making it imperative that we, as a transgender community, become involved in this election and the struggle to keep Obamacare, even though Rethuglicans are determined to try to repeal it (and by the way, have offered NO viable alternative to improve the present broken system). You may see a somewhat more indepth coverage of the benefit of the Affordable Health Care Act to the transgender community at Advancing Transgender Equality, the blog of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
We must work to keep Pres. Obama, because he pushed and got it passed, and is determined to see it work for ALL of us; Mitt "etchasketch" Romney (along with the rest of his Rethuglicans) has vowed to repeal it if he gets the White House [on his first day in office]. Beyond that, I think we should do our best in any effort to replace all those in Congress who would be working to repeal it; otherwise they'll be working against Pres. Obama all the way to make it fail, not even trying to make positive 'tweaks' to make it better. I'm just sayin'...
Welcome to the blog that is intended for education, information, entertainment, news and advancement...and it's all about the Transgender community! If you're a transgender individual, I hope it provides you with all of the above as well as empowerment; if you're not a transgender, hopefully this blog will help in giving you a better understanding of the transgender community and that community's issues, achievements/abilities, "temperaments" and diversity. Overall, I hope your visit proves to be an interesting one.
Remember: "Communication is the Doorway through which Understanding may Walk."