President Biden and Vice President Harris Are Standing Up for LGBTQ+ Americans’ Health Care While Trump Tries to Rip it Away

In celebration of Pride Month, we’re highlighting the wins that President Biden and Vice President Harris have secured for LGBTQ+ Americans – including expanding coverage and guaranteeing protections from discrimination in health care. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans are trying to rip away their hard-won freedoms and rights.  

DNC Director of Outreach Communications Tracy King released the following statement: 

“President Biden and Vice President Harris are standing up to MAGA Republicans’ endless assault on LGBTQ+ Americans’ access to basic health care. Since Day One, President Biden has been fighting to eliminate health care discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans, bolster the Affordable Care Act, and protect access to zero-premium health insurance. Meanwhile, MAGA Republicans across the country are attacking LGBTQ+ Americans’ rights and threatening to rip away their insurance coverage. This November, the choice is clear: President Biden is the only candidate working to strengthen health care protections so LGBTQ+ Americans can live healthy and authentic lives.”

President Biden is strengthening and protecting the Affordable Care Act,  which cut the uninsured rate in the LGBTQ+ community by more than half when it was first implemented. 

KFF News: “During the early years of ACA implementation, the rate of uninsurance among LGB individuals fell by almost half (from 19% in 2013 to 10% in 2016), representing an estimated 369,000 fewer uninsured LGB individuals in 2016 compared to 2013.”

Center for American Progress: “The ACA has been instrumental in making health insurance more affordable by expanding low-income households’ eligibility for no- or low-cost public health insurance coverage through Medicaid and by directly subsidizing private coverage purchased by low- and middle-income individuals through the health insurance marketplaces. The high prevalence of poverty among LGBTQ communities—particularly transgender people and LGBTQ people of color due to transphobia and systemic racism—make both pathways to coverage essential to support the health and well-being of LGBTQ people.

“In 2013, before the ACA went into effect, 34 percent of LGBTQ individuals making less than $45,000 a year were uninsured. However, this number has dropped steadily each year in the wake of the ACA’s coverage expansions, decreasing to 26 percent in 2014, 22 percent in 2017, and, based on nationally representative survey data collected by CAP, 16 percent as of June 2020—indicating that the rate of uninsured LGBTQ people making less than $45,000 per year has halved since the ACA went into effect.”

Expanded subsidies included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and extended in the Inflation Reduction Act gave an estimated 200,000+ more LGBTQ+ Americans access to zero-premium health care plans. 

Assistant Secretary For Planning and Evaluation: “In addition to the ACA improving rates of healthcare coverage for the LGBTQ+ community, the ARP extends and expands Marketplace subsidies, which will enable many Americans including LGBTQ+ individuals to access more affordable coverage.” 

“Based on the survey estimates above, if that same share (79 percent) of LGB+ enrollees in Marketplace coverage have a zero‐premium option under the ARP, this would total roughly 210,000† LGB+ Marketplace enrollees having access to a zero‐premium plan.”

President Biden expanded the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting conditions like HIV/AIDS and is fighting to keep IVF and surrogacy accessible.

Reuters: “The Biden administration on Monday finalized a deal to preserve the federal mandate requiring U.S. health insurers to cover preventive care like cancer screenings and HIV-preventing medication at no extra cost to patients while a legal challenge continues.”

Vox: “To put it simply, the ACA was a ‘watershed moment in the [HIV] epidemic’s history,’ as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s director of global health and HIV policy, Jennifer Kates, told me in 2017. The law was designed to get more people access to health care, including those who were traditionally denied coverage because of ‘preexisting conditions’ like HIV, or who were driven out of the marketplace because their health care was unaffordable. And so under the law, the disease was no longer a barrier to health insurance.” “Under the Affordable Care Act, PrEP is free under almost all health insurance plans. PrEP is a preventive service and should be covered without charging you a co-payment or co-insurance. This is true even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible. That means you can’t be charged for your PrEP medication, the clinic visits to see your health care provider, and lab tests you need to get and maintain your prescription. There are no out-of-pocket costs for you.” “The ACA also authorized an optional Medicaid State Plan benefit for states to establish Health Homes to coordinate care for Medicaid beneficiaries with certain chronic health conditions. HIV/AIDS is one of the chronic health conditions that states may request approval to cover.”

Pink News: “Biden slams ‘outrageous’ Alabama court ruling that frozen embryos are ‘children’”

“Now, president Biden has denounced the ‘outrageous’ ruling that puts access to ‘some fertility treatments for families who are desperately trying to get pregnant’ at risk.”

“IVF and other fertility treatments have been used by LGBTQ+ couples and single parents to expand their families. 

“For LGBTQ+ couples, the path to parenthood can be long and difficult, given that they face entrenched inequality in how the care is provided by health insurers and employers. Additionally, the costs of conceiving via fertility treatments can be high for LGBTQ+ couples.” 

The Biden-Harris administration is fighting back against Trump and the MAGA Republicans who want to roll back protections for LGBTQ+ people in health care.

CNN: “The Biden administration announced a new rule Friday expanding safeguards against potential discrimination of gay and transgender Americans seeking medical care, in a reversal of Trump-era limitations that nixed federal health protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“In a set of expansive new rules unveiled by the Department of Health and Human Services, the department moved to advance civil rights protections for patients by barring health providers and insurers receiving federal funding from discriminating against those seeking care on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. The HHS rule restores Obama-era protections for transgender patients that the Trump administration rolled back in 2020 — a move that was condemned by LGBTQ+ advocacy and human rights organizations.”

New York Times: “The Biden administration announced expansive new protections on Friday for gay and transgender medical patients, prohibiting federally funded health providers and insurers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“The rule overhauls federal policy in an area that has become a political flashpoint, with more than 20 Republican-led states banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors in recent years.”

The Trump administration successfully ripped away health care protections from LGBTQ+ patients.

Politico: “Trump finalizes rollback of LGBTQ patient protections”

Politico: “The Trump administration today proposed to scrap an Obama-era policy that prohibited health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients, in its latest rollback of federal protections for transgender people.

“The health department’s proposed rule, a rewrite of an Obamacare regulation that bars health care discrimination based on sex, would also strike down protections for LGBTQ patients.”

Trump gave insurance companies the greenlight to make Americans pay higher out-of-pocket costs for care. 

Center for American Progress: “The Trump administration has meddled with marketplace premiums in less transparent ways as well. Since 2019, insurance plans have been able to raise their premiums up to 15 percent each year without explanation because the Trump administration lifted the ACA’s threshold for federal rate review from its previous 10 percent.

“Due to changes in the ACA subsidy formula that the Trump administration enacted through administrative law in 2019, marketplace enrollees who receive financial assistance will owe 2.8 percent more toward their premiums in 2021… 

“The tweaks to the index for the ACA’s annual updates will also increase some patients’ out-of-pocket costs. The out-of-pocket maximum rose faster over the past couple years than it would have absent the Trump administration’s changes.” 

Even though the ACA helped those living with HIV gain better access to affordable care, Trump has tripled down on terminating the ACA if he retakes power.

Daily Beast: “Trump Revives Plan to Dismantle Obamacare if Elected in 2024”

Vox: “Trump will have to stop sabotaging Obamacare if he wants to end HIV”

“To put it simply, the ACA was a ‘watershed moment in the [HIV] epidemic’s history,’ as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s director of global health and HIV policy, Jennifer Kates, told me in 2017. The law was designed to get more people access to health care, including those who were traditionally denied coverage because of ‘preexisting conditions’ like HIV, or who were driven out of the marketplace because their health care was unaffordable. And so under the law, the disease was no longer a barrier to health insurance.

“The law also expanded access to Medicaid, the government health insurance plan for low-income Americans. And remember: More than half of people living with HIV in the US are low-income.”

Trump’s administration rolled back Obama-era health care protections for transgender Americans. 

CNN: “The Trump administration announced Friday it is eliminating an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender.

The move – coming during Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community that takes place throughout the month of June, and on the four-year anniversary of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed at a popular LGBTQ venue in Orlando – was swiftly denounced by LGBTQ groups, which see the action as discriminatory…

“A rule enacted in 2016 interpreted the ban on sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity, building on similar interpretations in other federal civil rights laws and court rulings, and termination of pregnancy.

“But the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Friday that it was eliminating ‘certain provisions of the 2016 Rule that exceeded the scope of the authority delegated by Congress in Section 1557. HHS will enforce Section 1557 by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.’ …

“The American Civil Liberties Union said the move could cost lives, and the National Center for Transgender Equality called the move ‘heartless’ and said the administration is ‘encouraging discrimination’ with the rule change.”