The Supreme Court’s decision Thursday upholding the Affordable Care Act will affect access to healthcare across the LGBT community. People will not lose their health insurance because of HIV status or other pre-existing conditions, and transgender people cannot be denied coverage.
In its decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the penalty for not buying insurance under the “individual mandate” is a tax and is therefore constitutional.
While the ACA makes insurance coverage more widely available to the LGBT community, the ruling allows states like Texas to refuse federal money to expand Medicaid to cover more people unable to afford private health insurance.
Insurance should be more accessible once statewide insurance exchanges are created, but Texas has done little to begin creating those exchanges, banking on the ACA being declared unconstitutional. State exchanges will not be allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or sex.
Dallas’ AIDS Interfaith Network called the decision a “major step forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In a press release, AIN wrote:
By upholding the Affordable Care Act, ensuring more individuals can obtain health insurance coverage, the Court removed a major roadblock to ending AIDS in America.
People living with HIV will have access to the reliable health coverage they need to seek and maintain continuous care, without unnecessary worrying about interrupts in care because of inadequate coverage or inability to pay.
National LGBT organizations, with the exception of Log Cabin Republicans, praised the decision.