Sunday, June 24, 2012

Decision on ObamaCare?

The Human Rights Campaign last week garnered a decent amount of press and blogger attention, when their president Chad Griffin released the group's latest Healthcare Equality Index at a news conference last week with Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

HRC rates hospitals and other health care facilities by their Core Four Criteria which are patient non-discrimination policies, visitation policies, employment non-discrimination policies and training in cultural competency by staffers toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

All fine and good IF you're an LGBT individual with health care insurance to know how HRC rates hospitals and clinics, but for the thousands of LGBT individuals who lack such insurance and access to care, or who are under-insured, the HRC index is essentially meaningless. If you can't pay for hospital or clinic care, does it matter to you what their gay policies are?

And criteria four, visitation policies, is all about same-sex couples being able to visit each other or their minor children in health care settings. Another example of HRC creating a special and separate criteria based solely on relationship/marital status. What about single/unpartnered gays who want visits from special friends during hospital stays or emergency room visits? Not part of HRC's index.

I am not aware of HRC ever demanding universal health care and access to services for all LGBT persons, regardless of income level or relationship/marital status. Sure, HRC uses health care access as a benefit for married gay couples as something worth advocating for, but basic health care for all of us has not been integral to the HRC agenda up to now.

Will that change under Griffin? We'll know this week when the Supreme Court renders its decision on President Obama's health care program known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Wouldn't surprise if HRC says nothing about the decision.

Regardless of how SCOTUS rules, I'm not expecting HRC to all of a sudden have an opinion on the act and how it effects LGBT people. HRC was mute when the act was being drafted and working its torturous way through the U.S. Congress, and didn't lift a finger to fight for its passage.

If Griffin issues a statement after the ruling is made public and loudly speaks up for health care insurance and services for every LGBT individual, we'll know he has intentions of changing the core elitism of HRC. On the other hand, if he and HRC are silent about the SCOTUS ruling it will be a clear indication that HRC still sucks.

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