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Affordable Care Act has helped the LGBTQ community

COVID-19 LGBTQ Community

Samples prepare to get tested for COVID-19. Photo: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Editorial

As Californians continue to navigate our new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the many inequities — especially the health inequities — faced by our most marginalized communities.

If you’re one of the estimated 1.4 million Californians who lost employer-sponsored health insurance since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s help for you. Open enrollment period, the period when people can purchase or change health insurance for the upcoming year, lasts until January 31. 

As the director for California LGBTQ Health & Human Services Network, I’ve seen how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has improved access to health care in the ten years since its passage. The expansion of Medicaid and the introduction of Covered California have reduced uninsured rates here in the state by more than half. The coverage expansion and nondiscrimination protections in the ACA have been especially important for LGBTQ people, who experienced huge gains in coverage over the past decade.

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LGBTQ COVID-19 data to be collected in California

Over the past four years, we have watched the Trump-Pence Administration attack and undermine protections outlined by the Affordable Care Act. These guidelines, meant to protect our LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and harassment when seeking healthcare — especially transgender people who face some of the most significant health disparities. The latest challenge comes in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court case that could dismantle the ACA and years of progress. 

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How has the Affordable Care Act changed your life? Do you have a preexisting condition that you were finally able to get coverage for? Benefited from the 10 essential health benefits? We want to hear your story! It’s because of stories like yours, that we were able to defeat the many attempts at ACA repeal. And with your continued advocacy, we hope to not only thwart the current attempts to undermine the ACA, but to build a more equitable and just health care system for all Californians.

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About the author

Amanda McAllister-Wallner

Amanda McAllister-Wallner is the director for California LGBTQ Health & Human Services Network.

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