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“Obamacare” — How The Affordable Care Act Helps Gays

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The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” does a lot to help gay men, lesbians, transgender and bisexual Americans, and our families. If the Supreme Court ends up declaring Obamacare or any portion of it unconstitutional, all Americans, and especially minorities, will be grossly, negatively affected. And for the recored, the Obama administration has announced they are embracing the term, “Obamacare.”

Today, Kellan Baker, a Health Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress (CAP), posted this list, the “Top 10 Things Health Reform Does for Gay and Transgender Americans,” and quotes Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeliusas saying, “The Affordable Care Act may represent the strongest foundation we have ever created to begin closing LGBT health disparities.” Baker adds, “We should all be fighting to protect it.” Agreed!

And before you get to the list, a quick note: Joan McCarter at Daily Kos last week noted, “States fighting Affordable Care Act have highest populations of uninsured.” Of course!

Here is CAP’s list of the Top 10 Things Health Reform Does for Gay and Transgender Americans, including abbreviated descriptions. Please visit the Center For American Progress for more details. Our thanks for their excellent analysis.

1. Data collection to better understand LGBT health disparities:
In June 2011 Secretary Sebelius announced a plan for including sexual orientation and gender identity in national data collection efforts starting in 2013, in addition to the law’s required categories of race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability status.

2. Patient’s Bill of Rights to end insurance company abuses
As of 2014 it also prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition such as HIV or a transgender medical history and from arbitrarily canceling a sick person’s coverage.

3. Expansion of public insurance coverage
The new national eligibility threshold also eliminates the disability requirement for Medicaid coverage for people living with HIV.

4. Expansion of private insurance coverage
The law also requires every state to put in place a health insurance exchange starting in 2014. The exchanges will offer subsidies that make it possible for small employers and individuals who make between $15,000 and $43,000 per year to purchase affordable private coverage. Exchanges may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in any of their activities, and all exchange plans must offer comprehensive benefits across 10 essential health benefit categories, including prescription drugs, hospital stays, and mental and behavioral health services.

5. Coverage of preventive care
Under the Affordable Care Act all Medicare beneficiaries receive free annual checkups, and insurance companies may not charge copays or other fees for preventive services that are recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Of particular importance for gay and transgender people, these services include HIV and other sexually transmitted infection testing, depression screening, vaccinations, tobacco-use screening, and cholesterol and high blood pressure screening.

6. Easy-to-find information about health care reform and you
This website (also in Spanish), which was one of the consumer-friendly reforms the Affordable Care Act required, is the one-stop shop the Department of Health and Human Services maintains for all things related to health care reform. … Same-sex couples, many of whom do not have access to health insurance through their own or their partner’s employer, can use a built-in filter to find plans offering coverage for domestic partners.

7. A diverse and culturally competent health care workforce
What’s more, a new $11 billion fund supports new community health centers and expansion of existing centers, and the law requires the exchanges to ensure access to “essential community providers,” including community health centers that have expertise providing care to underserved populations such as the gay and transgender community.

8. Services for people living with HIV or AIDS
A major aspect of the Affordable Care Act is making prescription drugs more affordable, which will help people living with HIV or AIDS afford the medications they need. The law phases out the Medicare Part D “donut hole” by 2020 and requires pharmaceutical companies to provide a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole. It also allows ADAP, or the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, contributions to count toward Medicare Part D’s True Out of Pocket Spending Limit, which will help people with HIV move out of the donut hole more quickly.

9. Nondiscrimination protections

Section 1557 …protections include the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, which protect individuals living with HIV or AIDS, and Title IX of the education amendments of 1972, which offer protections on the basis of sex. A national trend in case law interprets Title IX to include gender identity and sex stereotyping, though not sexual orientation. The Equal Opportunity Employment policies at several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, also include gender identity under sex protections.

10. Community-based prevention programs
According to the National Prevention Strategy, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, “all Americans should have the opportunity to live long, healthy, independent, and productive lives, regardless of their … sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics.”

 

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COMMENTARY

Fox News Host’s Inaccurate Reporting Leads to False Right-Wing Speculation Breyer Was Forced Out

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Barely minutes before 12:00 noon on Wednesday NBC News’ Pete Williams broke the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was going to announce he is retiring, at the end of the term.

Hours later Fox News host Shannon Bream breathlessly tweeted, “Multiple sources tell me Justice Breyer was not planning to announce his retirement today. They describe him as ‘upset’ with how this has played out. We still await any official notice from his office and/or the #SCOTUS public information office.”

That was 2:41 PM.

Her tweet was inaccurate – based on her own reporting, about a half-hour later.

At 3:14 PM Bream “clarified” her reporting, making clear that Justice Breyer “firmly decided” to retire on his own, and was merely “surprised” that a top-notch veteran Supreme Court reporter broke the news:

Her first tweet has received thousands of retweets and likes and led to false speculation among many right-wingers (adding to the already false claims from the far right) that President Joe Biden forced Justice Breyer out the door – something impossible (unless you do over a billion dollars in business with a bank where the son of a Supreme Court Justice works.)

Too late, the damage is done. Ordinarily many reporters will delete tweets that are inaccurate or wrong, then post the reason why, and a correction. Bream did not.

Related: Fox News Host Asks How We Can Tell ‘Bad Guys’ If We Can’t See ‘Tone Of Their Skin’?

Over at the right-wing National Review, senior writer Charles C. W. Cooke posted an article titled: “Did the Democratic Party Preempt Justice Breyer’s Announcement to Force His Hand?”

Its only content: Bream’s inaccurate tweet and the words, “It certainly seems possible.”

Here are more results of Bream’s inaccurate reporting:

Chief political correspondent, Washington Examiner and Fox News contributor Byron York:

Another Washington Times columnist and a SiriusXMPatriot personality:

Former senior advisor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

Blogger at right wing website Hot Air:

Radio talk show host:

 

 

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OUCH

Silenced by Psaki: Reporter Pushing Right Wing Talking Points Can’t Answer Press Secretary’s Basic Questions About Them

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A reporter was silent after pushing right-wing talking points during the White House’s daily press briefing and being asked to explain her question. The Q&A was so disturbing one well-known political scientist weighed in on social media to declare the White House press corps an “embarrassment.”

“Just a quick question on inflation,” the unnamed reporter began as she asked her question on the administration’s plan to strengthen the social safety net and grow jobs. “Many believe that government spending is a big factor in the current inflation levels. Can you speak to concerns that spending plans that come out of Build Back Better aren’t paid for, and so could mean higher deficits and more inflation in the future.”

Psaki, a little stunned, confirmed she heard correctly: “Aren’t paid for? Build Back Better is paid for.”

The reporter was silent. As time moved on, so did Psaki.

“Entirely,” she added, definitively.

“Okay,” replied the reporter, apparently out of facts and with little understanding of what she was asking. “Can you speak to the concerns that are coming in that it’s not, actually?”

“Who are the concerns from though?” Psaki asked.

Silence again.

“Who’s saying it’s not paid for?” Psaki pressed.

More silence.

“Because there have been a range of economists saying it’s entirely paid for, and that has been a priority for the President. It has also been concluded by a number of Nobel laureates and experts from a range of economic experts on the outside that it will not contribute to inflation. So those are the global experts that we would point to, but there may be others suggesting something else, but I don’t know who those people are,” she said, allowing the reporter to offer a different response, to possibly retain her dignity.

“So if those bills do pass it will not raise taxes?” the reporter asked, which is an entirely different question.

“Well, something being entirely paid for means that part of that is the highest income Americans highest that companies would be asked to pay a little bit more. That has been part of the proposal and part of reforming the tax system to make it more fair,” Psaki explained.

“So they’re also not expected to contribute to future inflation, then?”

“The Build Back Better Bill? Again, it’s fully paid for, we would point to Nobel laureates and a range of global economists who have conveyed that it would not contribute to inflationary pressures.”

Watch:

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Influential Far Right Conservatives Ballistic Over Breyer Retirement: ‘They Must Be Stopped’

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As soon as the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current session, right-wing activists began declaring that Breyer had been “bullied” into stepping down and therefore Republicans must do everything they can to block whomever President Joe Biden nominates to fill that seat.

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network and Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch both asserted that Breyer had been forced out of his seat on the court.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America declared that Biden must use the vacancy to unify the nation by appointing to the court a “constitutionalist” (which is conservative code for “right-wing ideologue”).

Proclaiming that the Senate is the “our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices,” Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel used the opportunity to promote his own campaign.

Rep. Lauren Boebert proclaimed that Biden should take a hint from Breyer and “follow him out the door.”

Right-wing activist Brigitte Gabriel openly asserted that it doesn’t even matter whom Biden nominates, “they must be stopped.”

Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh demanded that the position remain vacant until following the midterm elections in November, insisting that “it would be an assault on our democracy” to confirm any nominee before then.

Taking things a step further, radical Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers called on the U.S. Senate to “filibuster, stall, delay and hold Biden’s Supreme Court pick until 2024.”

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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