We knew it was going to be bad, but it was hard to imagine that the Republican attack on health care would be quite so devastating. The Senate bill to dismantle Obamacare is a nightmare of cuts to lifesaving programs, and LGBTQ Americans face particularly brutal consequences if it passes.
No More Medicaid
More people with HIV obtain health insurance through Medicaid than through any other source, and the proposed bill would decimate Medicaid. Millions of people are expected to lose coverage, particularly if there’s a return to the previous system whereby HIV positive Americans could not access Medicaid until their HIV progressed to AIDS.
What’s worse: Trumpcare would also revert to old rules whereby childless people faced additional challenges to obtaining Medicaid. Since LGBTQ people often have no children, this meant they were disproportionately barred from obtaining care. Obamacare fixed that — Trumpcare breaks the fix.
Devastating for Planned Parenthood
Among the provisions of the proposed bill is a ban on Medicaid repayments to Planned Parenthood — and that will be potentially disastrous for trans Americans. For many, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can access medical care. In particular, people in rural settings may have nowhere to turn when they can no longer go to a local Planned Parenthood clinic.
In addition, Planned Parenthood is often the only place where people in remote areas can get HIV testing. Vice President Mike Pence, when he was Governor of Indiana, caused a massive HIV outbreak after the only available Planned Parenthood in one particular area was shut down by the state.
Making it Harder to Get Coverage
Trumpcare introduces numerous new obstacles for people who have no coverage to obtain insurance. The House version of the bill imposed a yearlong 30% surcharge on anyone who went two months without coverage. The Senate version is even worse, blocking people from getting insurance for six months if they let their coverage lapse.
LGBTQ people have long been disproportionately under-insured when compared to straight Americans. Obamacare went a long way towards fixing that imbalance, thanks in large part of Medicaid. But with Medicaid being reduced under the Senate plan, the imbalance could soon return.
Not to mention: costs of coverage will rise for everyone, since Trumpcare dispenses with the individual mandate — the requirement that everyone obtain coverage. With young healthy people allowed to opt-out, the system is likely to be flooded with people who need expensive care, so premiums will have to go up to cover them.
That means big trouble for LGBTQ seniors. With relatively few programs to support their specific needs, they’ll find themselves paying more for less coverage.
A Gift for the Rich
There’s one group of Americans who will benefit from the GOP plan, and that’s the super-rich. Phasing out the Medicaid expansion will allow for additional tax breaks for people who already have more money than they know what to do with. In truth, it’s not a health care bill — it’s just a tax cut.