Yesterday, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Health Data Collection Improvement Act, a bill that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that federal health surveys collect voluntary data on sexual orientation and gender identity. Such data is critical to understanding the unique health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and ensuring that federal health programs and dollars are targeted to address them. We already know that LGBT people experience significant health disparities – both due to health conditions that disproportionately affect our community and the widespread discrimination that continues to limit our access to quality healthcare. The Center for American Progress detailed these disparities, and the need for health data to understand and combat them, in this 2009 report.
The bill is on the agenda for a broader hearing on public health legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. HRC submitted a statement [pdf] on the Health Data Collection Improvement Act for inclusion in the record for the hearing.
Alongside Congresswoman Baldwin, the National Coalition for LGBT Health and other allies, HRC strongly supported the inclusion of LGBT data collection language in health reform legislation, but it was ultimately not included as part of the final bill signed by President Obama. We applaud Congresswoman Baldwin for her continued leadership on this issue, working to ensure that the health needs of LGBT people are part of the federal government’s broad commitment to a healthier America.