Cuomo issues order against anti-trans discrimination in health care

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an order against anti-trans discrimination in health care. Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers.

As New York celebrated Pride, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced a series of actions to assure transgender people in the state have access to health care, including transition-related care such as gender reassignment surgery.

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New HHS division slammed as tool for anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Roger Severino hailed the creation of a conscience division at HHS. Image courtesy C-Span.

Consistent with media reports indicating the move was coming, the Department of Health & Human Services on Thursday formally established a conscience division that critics say will allow medical practitioners to deny abortion-related services and treatment to LGBT people on religious grounds.

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Out2Enroll launches LGBT coalition to promote Obamacare under Trump

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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With President Trump taking action seen to undermine Obamacare — such as shortening the window of time for new insurance enrollments — a new LGBT coalition of more than 60 groups is launching to promote insurance options under the law.

Leading the coalition is Out2Enroll, a joint project of the Center for American Progress, the Sellers Dorsey Foundation and the Federal Agencies Project that seeks to enroll LGBT people in insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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LGBT, HIV groups pan Trump’s executive order on health care

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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LGBT and HIV/AIDS groups are criticizing President Trump’s executive order on health care, asserting the measure endangers people with pre-existing conditions who could be left out in the cold.

Trump signed the executive order Thursday in the Oval Office in front of Vice President Pence, senior administration officials and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes Obamacare, but has threatened to vote “no” on legislative replacement plans.

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Senate rejects ‘skinny’ Trumpcare in narrow, late-night vote

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate rejected early Friday morning an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace with it a “skinny” version of Trumpcare, raising serious questions about whether President Trump will succeed in his campaign of dismantling Obamacare.

The bill failed on 51-49 vote as a result from three defections from Republican caucus: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Vice President Mike Pence, whose vote would been necessary for a tie vote, had left the chamber before the roll call was called. All Democrats vote against the measure.

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How Trumpcare, or its Senate component, may affect the LGBT community

By : Billy Manes
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“This is a funeral procession. When we get to Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, we’ll have speakers and then we’ll have a die-in,” was the rallying call on June 28 as protesters took to the streets to march against the competing Republican agendas meant to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. The march, which started at Orlando City Hall and ended up across the street at Rubio’s home away from home, was blotted by rain and was suitably somber.

“What do we want? Healthcare. When do we want it? Now,” was the refrain as dozens of people walked the street in favor of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and those who were simply blocked out of coverage by Florida’s refusal to expand Medicaid to nearly one million people caught in the coverage gap. Likewise, others just saw the crumbling pieces of the nation’s healthcare conundrum, currently being argued between the U.S. House and U.S. Senate regarding a complete overhaul of medical care in the United States.

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Addressing mental health concerns within the minority LGBTQ community

By : Samuel Johnson
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“Mental health is not a lack of willpower. Mental health is not being inflicted by the Devil. Mental health isn’t about not being strong enough to cope with life.” This is the opinion of psychiatrist Dr. Z. (She has requested that her name remain anonymous).

Dr. Z is a Hillsborough National Alliance on Mental Illness board member and has both clinical knowledge as well as the mental health delivery system. Untreated mental health, as she views it, is a serious public health issue; “Not in the contagious sense of the word. I can’t catch depression from someone else. I can’t catch schizophrenia from someone else. I can’t catch bipolar [disorder] from someone else. But how I’m feeling does impact others. For example, social ails like homelessness, like prison populations, where a lot of that has to do with untreated mental illness; society at large is impacted by the way we that we approach the treatment of mental health.”

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Uprisings: Health and horror

By : Billy Manes
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Have you ever been sick? I mean, so sick that you really needed help of the professional kind, maybe even a friend to drive you to the hospital? With Obamacare – or, as it’s really called, the Affordable Care Act – passage fading in our rearview mirrors right now, there are a lot of things we need to talk about in moving forward. But what we’re talking about now – namely, the failed Trumpcare plan – is a daunting wisp of comb-over terror. Republicans have seized on this notion that, when squinted at, reads like, “Support big pharma; screw the little guy.” There is nothing to this rhetoric that doesn’t reek of opportunistic capitalism, and there is not a brown pill bottle around to smooth over its side effects. What we’re talking about now – thankfully also in the past tense – is an illegible plan to make health an investment, to make people suffer more.

It may sound a little socialist, and for that I smile, but the health of our nation is certainly the best investment possible from a government. We buy things. Just four years ago, I watched a friend deal with the death of a single mother as she fell apart and fell down while trying to sell vacuum cleaners on the side for extra money. Her condition was treatable. Her bank account was not. Charlene Dill became a symbol of all it is that we are doing wrong in terms of taking care of our citizenry. Charlene Dill is dead.

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GOP health plan’s ‘devastating’ impact on those with HIV

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with the American Health Care Act continues to worry advocates seeking to ensure access to health care for LGBT people and people with HIV — a concern that a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office has validated.

According to CBO, 14 million people would lose insurance coverage in 2018 if the American Health Care Act were to become law as a result of the elimination of the individual mandate under Obamacare. But that number would climb to 21 million in 2020, then to 24 million in 2026 following repeal of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. In 2026, CBO estimates 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

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Trump’s speech to Congress mixes bleak outlook with populist view

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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President Trump’s wide-ranging speech Tuesday in the House gallery of the U.S. Capitol drew on many of the positions he expressed during the presidential campaign, such as rebuilding America’s infrastructure, expelling undocumented immigrants and rebuilding the military. All those goals stemmed from a perception — largely deemed incorrect or exaggerated — of the failing state of America.

“For too long, we’ve watched our middle class shrink as we’ve exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries,” Trump said. “We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit — and so many other places throughout our land. We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross — and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate. And we’ve spent trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.”

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