Good news in the health care bill

I’ve already ranted against the Stupak amendment, but now I’m going to take a deep breath and look at some of the positive things included in the House health reform bill. The bill:

  • Expands Medicaid “to reach a wider range of poor households up to 150% of the federal poverty level. 36M additional Americans will now be eligible for Medicaid.”
  • Bars discrimination in health care on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Acknowledges LGBTQ Americans are a population likely to “experience significant gaps in disease, health outcomes, or access to health care.” This will hopefully ensure that LGBTQ people are included in future data collection, and that grant programs will focus on their specific health needs.
  • Ends the “unfair practice of taxing employer-provided domestic partner health benefits, allowing thousands upon thousands of LGBT people to obtain domestic partner health benefits for their partners and families without having to pay a tax penalty through the nose.”
  • Allows states to cover early HIV treatment under their Medicaid programs. (Currently, states are only allowed to use Medicaid money for patients with full-blown AIDS.)
  • Funds comprehensive sex-ed programs.

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