Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform Passes without Key Provisions for LGBT Americans, Cuccinelli will Challenge Reform in Federal Court

The big news this morning is that Health Care reform passed the house by a very thin margin of 219-212 last night. This historic legislation guarantees insurance coverage to 95% of Americans and makes it illegal to deny insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

It seems in order to get the legislation through, certain provisions that would have addressed the specific health care needs of the LGBT community had to be sacrificed, according to an interview with out lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.
Baldwin had sought and secured four pro-gay provisions in the original House version of health care reform, including a prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in health care.

But neither the Senate bill nor President Obama’s proposal late last month included those provisions. Baldwin had held out hope, as late as Thursday morning, that at least two of the provisions might be added back under whatever legislative package the House and Senate would eventually vote on.
The Advocate article goes on to say that the sweeping health care reform bill does not include the anti-discrimination provision or three others. Those others included the “Early Treatment for HIV Act,” which sought to allow states to provide Medicaid coverage to low-income HIV positive individuals; the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, which sought to end the tax for gay employees whose partners/spouses are covered under their work health insurance coverage; and a provision to collect data toward ending disparities in health care for LGBT people.
Baldwin says she believes the votes exist in the House to pass ENDA and a DADT repeal bill.

Naturally, Virginia's Douche-bag General, Ken Cuccinelli has chimed in with a statement this morning saying the Commonwealth of Virginia will challenge the Health Care Reform Act in federal court as soon as it is signed by President Obama.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported this morning:

Virginia will file suit against the federal government charging that the health-care reform legislation is unconstitutional, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office confirmed last night.

Cuccinelli is expected to argue that the bill, with its mandate that requires nearly every American to be insured by 2014, violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The attorney general's office will file suit once President Barack Obama signs the bill into law, which could occur early this week.

"At no time in our history has the government mandated its citizens buy a good or service," Cuccinelli said in a statement last night.

Four of Virginia's six Democratic congressmen supported the $940 billion bill: Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-3rd, Rep. Tom Perriello, D-5th, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-11th, and Rep. James P. Moran, D-8th.

Two Democrats -- Rep. Glenn Nye, D-2nd, and Rep. Rick Boucher, D-9th -- were among 34 Democrats to cross party lines and vote against the measure.
 Once more Virginia takes the spotlight as a national laughing stock.

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