Somewhere in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare (which was based on Romneycare) is a provision which specifically helps to ensure that trans people are treated fairly by health insurance providers. This makes today’s victory especially wonderful.
The ACA prohibits health insurance providers from discriminating against people based upon their gender identity. This is important as many trans people have a hard time getting insurance, and most insurance policies do not cover even the most basic services that a trans person needs like therapy and hormone replacement.
Masen Davis, the Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center stated “I breathed a huge sigh of relief this morning when I learned that over 30 million people will not lose their health care benefits and that provisions to protect the health of transgender people will remain intact.”
Kristina Wertz, TLC’s Program Director, stated “We celebrate today, but we must continue to press for transgender and gender non-conforming people to have full access to affordable, quality health care. We will continue to be involved in the implementation of the law to help ensure that transgender people are treated with fairness and dignity and have access to care.”
TLC explained that:
Studies have shown that transgender people face extraordinary barriers in accessing health care. In fact, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task force and National Center for Transgender Equality found that 19% of transgender people reported being denied health care due to bias, and 50% avoided accessing care due to cost.
Dr. Nick Gorton, of Lyon-Martin Health Services, stated that “Transgender Americans are one of our most marginalized populations, disproportionately impacted by social and health disparities. Access to quality health care is a right every person deserves, regardless of gender identity. Barriers to primary and preventative care only serve to exacerbate easily preventable problems. President Obama’s health care reform law will have a tremendous impact on the transgender community just by ensuring access to the basic primary care that every American deserves.”
Transgender Law Center receives calls every week from transgender and gender non-conforming people who are experiencing barriers in accessing health care, including routine procedures such as blood tests and mammograms. To increase access to care, Transgender Law Center has conducted hundreds of trainings for health care providers, worked with unions and corporations to eliminate transgender exclusions from insurance policies, and helped pass California’s Insurance Gender Non-Discrimination Act to guarantee equitable, discrimination-free health coverage for transgender Californians.