LGBT Group Praises SCOTUS Decision on Affordable Care Act
Posted by Melanie Nathan, June 25, 20915.
In a 6-3 decision, a decisive victory for President Obama, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the broad reach of the new healthcare law, ruling the government may continue to provide tax subsidies for low- and middle-income people who buy insurance nationwide, even in states that did not create an official insurance exchange of their own.
The conservative challenge to the law has been denied. It could have left more than 6 million Americans scrambling to pay for their coverage. It has now been decided that what has become known as Obamacare, will stand.
The ruling is a crucial win for the Democratic White House, now that Republicans control the House and Senate. Had the high court ruled for the conservative challengers, it would have put the fate of the law in the hands of GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to eliminate this key part of the Affordable Care Act.
“Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity remains a barrier to health insurance coverage, but the Affordable Care Act has helped to address that.” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.
According to a report from the Center for American Progress, the uninsured rate among LGBT individuals who make $44,000 or less fell from 34 to 26 percent under Obamacare — a greater improvement than was found in the general population.
Transgender people saw a dramatic 24 percentage point drop, but the uninsured rate among that community remains quite high at 35 percent.
Guaranteed access to health insurance has especially helped LGBT families, who often cannot get full coverage through one parent’s employer. Now, many more children with parents who are LGBT can access the coverage they need.
Previously, LGBT individuals could also be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer or mental health diagnoses. No longer. Insurance plans also are prohibited from discriminating against or charging higher premiums to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender policy holders.
And legally married same-sex couples are treated equally for financial assistance regardless of the state they live in.
“The court’s decision means not only that Obamacare will survive but also that millions of people, especially Floridians, will be able to keep their health-care subsidies, which are what makes their insurance truly affordable,” Smith said