Affordable Care Act: A Victory for the Transgender Community

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Victoria Michaels, The Transvestigator

Victoria Michaels has been a radio show producer, Miss Pennsylvania USofA 1999, and Miss World 2000. Currently, she works as a reporter, is a board member of T-House Project, and the reigning Miss Florida F.I. 2012.

The trans-community has reason to kick up their heels and applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to upheld the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA includes several provisions that will help ensure that transgender people have fair access to quality health care, including prohibiting insurance plans from discriminating based on gender identity.

Receiving adequate health care has been a struggle for many transgender individuals in the past. Transgender people have faced a host of challenges—from lack of access to basic coverage, to lack of understanding among healthcare providers, to even outright ignorance and hostility.

Many people are unaware that most insurance plans to date have had discriminatory exclusions that single out the transgender community for denial of basic care. Shockingly, in the past, trans-people have even been denied treatment at hospitals during times of emergencies; this in itself is a crime as nobody should be denied emergency care services.

A survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that one in five transgender people have been denied care due to bias, and 50 percent were delayed preventive care because of cost.

This new law for the first time prohibits gender-based discrimination by health care providers, which extends to discrimination based on gender identity and gender stereotypes, and too provides critical protection for all LGBT people.

These essential protections will continue to ensure insurance access fortransgender people by prohibiting insurers from unfairly targeting those transgenders who need access to health care.

ACA also puts a halt to insurers from denying or canceling insurance just because a person is transgender.

The law also has tremendous potential to impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is still a major gay and transgender health crisis, by expanding access to testing and treatment and supporting community prevention efforts.

The trans-community and their advocates salute the Court's ruling and are committed to continue working until the law is fully implemented.  The law is a milestone achievement in the long pursuit of transgender health equity, and will benefit the 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States.

NCTE and Transgender Law Center are planning to making the case the not covering transition-related care is discrimination against transgenders, and that insurance companies should be made to cover those costs for those seeking to transition.

For the many transgenders who struggle in everyday life with the torment of feeling trapped inside of the wrong body there is now finally hope on the horizon. Costly hormone therapy and proper health care seemed impossible until now, and over the decades many trans-people who couldn't afford appropriate treatment lived a life of torment and hell, and some even committed suicide.

Lack of health insurance or health care coverage is a problem that has tainted the trans-community for decades. There are links between health care the high rates of unemployment and poverty in this population, partly because of the difficulty of navigating the working world as a gender-nonconforming person.

As the Trans-community steps forward in pursuit of affordable, quality health care, they do so in solidarity with every person who deserves to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect so that no transgender person is denied health care just because of their gender identity, income, and/or the pre-existing mental health problems associated in people with gender dysphoria.

This is a true victory for the trans-community and hopefully a sign of better days to follow.  Today the trans-community celebrates,  but advocates remain committed because the t-community still has a long road ahead.


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