LGBT Healthcare Inequality Despite Obamacare

LGBT citizens are struggling to gain access to healthcare for themselves and their families.


Williams institute scholar Gary J. Gates has analysed research by Gallup,identifyingstriking statistics involving the healthcare treatment that LGBT individuals receive.

The Williams institute, dedicated to conducting research concerning sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, examined Gallup’s statistics considering healthcare coverage from the last quarter of 2013, and the second quarter of 2014 to coincide with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Analysis revealed some change, in that since the fourth quarter of 2013, the percentage of uninsured LGBT adults fell 4.4 percentage points, compared to a 3.5 point drop among non-LGBT Americans. From this research, the inequality in the treatment of LGBT citizens in comparison to none-LGTB is stunningly apparent.

LGBT women in particular are struggling to gain access to healthcare for themselves and their families; statistics reveal them to be twice as likely to face this struggle as compared to non-LGBT women, in contrast to LGBT males whose statistics vary minimally from non-LGBT males. There is no explanation in the research for why women are at so much more of a disadvantage than men, other than the suggestion of financial difficulties. This leads one to assume that the age-old prejudices women have faced continue strongly, combined with LGBT discrimination. This leaves openly LGBT women finding themselves at a greater disadvantage than most. Study author Gates notes, “The findings in this study are consistent with several recent studies showing that economic disadvantages are common in an LGBT community that too often experiences stigma and discrimination. These disadvantages are likely an important factor in explaining why LGBT Americans report less access to health care and many negative health and well-being outcomes compared to their non-LGBT counterparts.” Despite data suggesting that LGBT individuals have benefited from the introduction of Obamacare, Gates states that “gaps in coverage between LGBT and non-LGBT adults persist.”

The main issue with rectifying this situation is a lack of awareness and insight. Studies that provide insight to the wellbeing of LGBT individuals are still rare. The inclusion of data concerning sexual orientation and gender identity as routine in demographic, economic, and health related surveys would help researchers to document negative experiences and disparities. The most important information gained would be the unearthing of why these inadequacies occur. Once researchers are able to distinguish why this is the case, then policymakers and health advocates will be able to use this information to improve the wellbeing of America’s LGBT citizens, taking one more step towards equality.


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