(EDGE) A coalition of 115 groups that includes numerous LGBTQ rights and HIV/AIDS service organizations sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee on Monday expressing opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill that many fear will take healthcare away from millions of Americans, including LGBTQ individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS.
"We are deeply concerned about the negative impact that the Graham-Cassidy bill would have on many vulnerable and marginalized communities-including the LGBTQ community-that already face systemic discrimination and healthcare disparities," the letter read.
The letter cited Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act that reduced the uninsurance rate among low and middle-income LGBTQ people by 35%, and noted that for many people living with HIV the protections for those with pre-existing conditions has made healthcare affordable and accessible.
"Tens of thousands of people living with HIV have qualified for care under the Medicaid expansion, gaining access to life-saving treatments before becoming disabled by the virus," the letter read. "As a result, people living with HIV are able to have healthier and longer lives."
"The Graham-Cassidy proposal fundamentally changes the Medicaid program, imposing a per capita cap funding structure and terminating the expansion of the program under the ACA. The magnitude of the lost funding will have a swift, stark, and devastating impact on the most vulnerable among us: women and children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and persons living with HIV. The legislation also strips the requirement to cover essential health benefits under the Medicaid expansion, leaving millions without access to the critical benefits that often save lives, such as substance abuse treatment and mental healthcare services.
"LGBTQ people, particularly people of color and those living with HIV, face systemic discrimination and health disparities, which the ACA was helping to address. Graham-Cassidy would take us backward, shredding the health care safety net and leaving many in our community to risk bankruptcy in order to obtain basic health care. The one-two punch of gutting Medicaid and eliminating the ACA's marketplace subsidies would strip coverage away from millions and inflict some of its worst harm on LGBTQ people, who already experience health disparities because of economic disadvantage and discrimination."
The letter was signed by a coalition of 115 organizations including: The ACLU, American Psychological Association, Center for Black Equality, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Center for Lesbian Rights, People for the American Way, The Trevor Project and True Colors Fund.