Should health officials ask about orientation?

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin

… And am I really agreeing with Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton?

Openly gay Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill in the House Energy and Commerce committee that would require federal health officials to ask patients their sexual orientation and gender identity. And there’s more wrong with this post than the fact that I’m sort of agreeing with Joe Barton — I also picked up the article about Baldwin’s bill from Fox News.

Baldwin thinks the requirement would help illustrate the disparity in health care that gays and lesbians receive compared to the general population.

Barton thinks it’s an invasion of privacy and that young people might not even know what the question means.

I think it will scare the hell out of some gays and lesbians who are afraid of being outed to their families and employers.

Baldwin argues that refusal to answer would never be a barrier to health care.

While I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m straight, others are more circumspect and I respect that.

What do you think?

—  David Taffet