Baldwin bill seeks to end LGBT health disparities
By 365gay Newswire
06.24.2009 10:30am EDT
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin introduced the Ending Health Disparities for LGBT Americans Act (ELHDA) on Tuesday, the first comprehensive approach to improving all areas of the health care system where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans face inequality and discrimination.
“Our current health care system fails LGBT Americans on many levels,” said Baldwin in a statement.
“Although we have ample anecdotal evidence of these disparities, the federal government lacks even the most basic data on sexual orientation and gender identity and health. This bill invests in research and takes critical steps towards improving the health of LGBT Americans and their families,” Baldwin said.
Joining Baldwin in sponsoring the bill are House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). Baldwin has worked for more than a year to craft the bill, which she calls “comprehensive” and “fully inclusive.”
In addition to investing in data collection and research, the bill establishes non-discrimination policies for all federal health programs, provides funding for cultural competence training for health care providers, extends Medicare benefits to same-sex domestic partners, creates a new office of LGBT Health within in the Department of Health and Human Services, and provides funding for community health centers who serve the LGBT community.
The legislation has earned the support of the Human Rights Campaign; National Coalition for LGBT Health; The AIDS Institute; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National; National Center for Transgender Equality; AIDS Action; American Psychological Association; Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization; and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
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