How bad is Trumpcare for LGBTQ people? Very bad. So bad that if it becomes law, lots of people will die.
After a vicious struggle, Republicans were finally able to get their version of Trumpcare past the House — even though there was widespread outrage that their Obamacare replacement turned rape into a pre-existing coverage. Now it’s on to the Senate, where a vote hasn’t yet been scheduled. That means there’s still time to stop it from becoming law, if Americans can act fast enough and scare their Senators enough.
Meet Your New Pre-Existing Condition
One of the many ways that Trumpcare would be particularly disastrous for queer people is among its most monstrous provisions: that rape (including domestic abuse) is now considered a pre-existing condition. That means that victims of assault could be priced out of the healthcare market, with insurance companies given a green light to charge them astronomically high rates for coverage.
That’s obviously a huge worry for women. But queer people are also at heightened risk for assault, particularly trans individuals. The Republican Trumpcare plan yanks the rug out from under thousands of survivors, essentially telling them that if they’re the victims of rape or an abusive partner, they’ll never be able to afford health care again for the rest of their lives.
Targeting Trans People
Trans people will suffer particularly harshly under Trumpcare, in part because it would withhold money from Planned Parenthood. Specifically, PP clinics would be denied Medicaid reimbursements — not just for reproductive services, but for any procedure. That includes transition counseling and therapy for many trans individuals who can’t get care anywhere else.
No Coverage for HIV
It’s shocking but true: Trumpcare offers no coverage for HIV, since Medicaid will only cover patients with AIDS — a condition that only develops when HIV has been in a person’s system or left untreated for an extended period of time.
In other words, people with HIV who need Medicaid won’t be able to access care unless they let their condition worsen. Rather than treating the virus as soon as possible, Trumpcare forces people to become deathly ill before they’ll get coverage — a policy that will cost more money in the long run, and more lives.
So Long, Medicaid
Nearly 2 million LGBTQ people have Medicaid, according to the Center for American Progress. But Trumpcare would yank their care away by tightening restrictions on who could enroll, leaving many with no affordable option for coverage.
That’s a particular problem for queer people, since they’re disproportionately likely to be uninsured. Obamacare’s provisions went a long way towards addressing that, by instituting nondiscrimination policies and reaching out to underserved populations. But the Trump administration has ceased collecting data about LGBT Americans, and creates new rules to block low-income people from enrolling.
No Coverage for Queers
It’s unclear exactly how Trumpcare would handle nondiscrimination policies, but the administration has signaled that it will do nothing to protect LGBT people in general. In fact, Trump has pledged to sign a bill that would allow companies to deny services to queer people.
Disastrously, that could include companies that provide health care. Currently, Obamacare blocks discrimination by hospitals or insurers. But there could be a day coming when people are turned away from a doctor simply because of who they married.
It’s a dark time for American health care — but the good news is that Trumpcare isn’t law yet. The Senate is likely to vote in the coming weeks, and they need to hear from constituents. One of the most effective messages they can hear is that their House colleagues who support the bill are now facing angry crowds of voters, so there’s never been a more vital time to make your voice heard.