“And Now, The End Is Here…”

9 Nov

Throughout this blogging process I have become more familiar with the topic of healthcare and how it applies to the LGBT community. I now know the complexity of the issues that LGBT individuals face in the medical field. In doing research I learned what healthcare reform encompassed and how it could help a wide range of people.

I feel as though I have grown as a writer and a thinker in writing this blog. In the beginning I started off by forming my arguments around articles I came across, but now I am able to find articles that fit the argument that I want to make. I now understand the need for control of LGBT rights in healthcare. Previously, I thought that the only health concerns that LGBT people faced were about HIV/AIDS, but now I have learned so much more. I understand the need for education and prevention  of HIV/AIDS and how it has become a government strategy. The hindrances that the LGBT community face on a societal and legislative level have become more evident to me and I have become more conscious of this in my daily life.

My readings have shown me the similarities between the discriminations that LGBT people face and those faced by other marginalized groups. As a member of a commonly marginalized group, I can relate to this. I have become familiar with organizations, publications and initiatives that are resourceful. Most importantly, I feel that i have overcome one of the largest barriers in this issue, education. Becoming informed on the various issues in the LGBT community is a way to face the issues in a  productive way.

What If Nothing Changes?…

8 Nov

…well that probably won’t happen, but there will definitely be a regression in LGBT cultural competence. If there were no changes in healthcare practices the issues that exist today would continue and become more prevalent in today’s society. Members of the LGBT community would continue to face issues in medical care and coverage due to social stigmas and policies  that don’t coincide well with their identities. Transgender people will still be unable to find insurance to cover all of their healthcare needs. LGBT individuals will still be less likely to hold private health insurance. There will be an overall loss of understanding and care for the issues that face the LGBT community.

Extended Reading on Healthcare Reform

7 Nov

The Affordable Care Act: This link connects to the White House’s website on the ACA for the general public. It breaks down into laymen’s terms exactly what the ACA does from reforms, increasing access to care, creating affordable coverage, establishing patient’s rights and much more.

Health Reform for LGBT Americans: This document goes into detail describing exactly the ACA works for LGBT Americans. In addition to the services mentioned above, the ACA calls for insurance security, an end to discrimination, and more information about the opportunities available. This gives LGBT people the power to control their health as opposed to being at the mercy of others.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy: The NHAS is a specialized program designed by the government to combat HIV/AIDS as it is now and in the future.

Top 10 Things Health Reform Does for Gay and Transgender Americans: The Center for American Progress presents 10 examples for how the ACA will end disparities for the LGBT community. This will be accomplished by increasing education about LGBT-related health inequalities, creating an incorruptible set of patient’s rights, increasing insurance coverage the a public and private sector, coverage of preventative care practices, increased information to the public, diversifying the medical workforce, creating prevention programs, ending discriminatory practices and establishing specialized services.

Experiences of Healthcare Discrimination: This was interesting to read because it provides exact examples of occurrences where discrimination happened. These detailed accounts allow readers to feel the pain of the story and the injustice of the situation. It shows the faults in the practices that exist in healthcare today and what should be fixed to have a functional society where everyone is included.

LGBT Issues in Health Reform and Breaking Down Barriers are two articles that highlight the issues that exist in our healthcare system as it stands today. They explore what should be reformed and why. In reading these I became more informed not only on legislation but on how society has become structured around it from the eyes of administration, legislation, and citizens.

Election Day

7 Nov

 

For a long time I was on the fence about who to vote for, being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I know I am supposed to be unbiased in this blog so I am going to do my best to present the facts. It may surprise readers, if you do exist, but up until I started this blog I was leaning towards candidate Romney. However through certain circumstances I realized that there are things that I believed in more than the economic strength of my country. I think that civil equality and easily affordable healthcare are of the utmost importance, because a nation is based off of healthy and strong minded civilians. Research focused on health and civil equity helped me realize that the candidate that shares my views is President Obama.

Through exploring both Romney and Obama’s websites and following their campaigns I gained greater knowledge and felt strong in my election decision. Romney’s views on healthcare reform conservative views on LGBT issues seemed to me to exclude many Americans. Obama on the other hand has healthcare and equality policies that are inclusionary on all fronts.

I know there has been a lot of hullabaloo about voting, and we are all ready for this election to be over. As a young adult, this was the first time I was allowed to vote in a presidential election, other that the primary earlier this year. This blog really helped put my perspective into focus.

The Means to an End

6 Nov

The ways to bring an end to healthcare disparities in the LGBT community are to legalize gay marriage, create a solid healthcare reform and enforce laws that safeguard the civil liberties of all americans.

Marriage equality would allow homosexual couples to become legally married in the United States. This would give them the same recognition, and in many cases, rights as heterosexual couples. As stated earlier in this blog, a lot of legislature is written in ways that exclude homosexual individuals from participating in aspects of life, such as hospital visitation or adoption, because they are not married. Marriage equality is often contended in religious and conservative settings on the basis that it is a detriment to society and that homosexual relations are not the way God intended humans to live. However it has been noted that there is a difference between civil and religious marriage. One only needs a marriage license to be seen as married in the US. This is a civil marriage, one that can bear no reference to  religion. In my own opinion, I think it is unfair to make legislation that prohibits a certain group of people from doing something that others are allowed to without confounding evidence.

Healthcare Reform, as ensured by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, will ensure adequate healthcare not only for LGBT individuals but for all Americans. This inclusive aspect of the act unifies the American people and seems to level the playing field so to speak. This being said, it also has parts that appeal to LGBT people as it does for those with pre-existing conditions or other health issues. By increasing options for LGBT Americans, lowering costs, and improving specialized care the Affordable Care Act simultaneously includes LGBT people in healthcare and gives them power in their decisions.

To ensure that these new rights to marriage, healthcare, along with their civil rights are not infringed, LGBT civil liberties should be protected through institutions such as the ACLU. By having their rights protected, LGBT Americans, can “enjoy the constitutional rights of equality, privacy and personal autonomy, and freedom of expression and association” and participate fully, as everyone else done, in society.

This three-pronged approach will combat the social, political, and health-related aspects of inequality, thus putting an end to disparities and ostracism of the LGBT community.

Good Reads

4 Nov

There are many blogs  that cover similar topics as this one, but there are three out there that I believe are worth reading.

First, Health Carried Away investigates the healthcare system as it is and what could change in the future. I find it particularly interesting because it uses different language than the politicians on television making it understandable to the average reader. It is informative, at times funny, and never fails to get the message of each post across.

Beffudlesme explores segregation against the LGBT community in cases of adoption. Though this is not often directly related to healthcare this blog shares similar views of why discrimination is wrong and that it still exists. I appreciate that this blog shows both sides of the arguments written about, allowing for the reader to form his/her own opinion.

Finally, the wittiest of the three, Common Sarcasm for the Sensible Age examines the political angles of marriage equality. This blog has hilarious gifs, memes, titles and videos and still keeps readers informed of major political actions in the LGBT community.

These blogs are worth your time to read because they will keep you informed and amused about their topics at the same time, which is what I think successful blogs do. By reading these you will increase your knowledge about healthcare and issues in the LGBT community without having to watch the political news shows we are all so tired of by now.

HIPAA

30 Oct

 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal privacy law enacted in 1996. It ensures the rights of patients by safeguarding their medical information through legislation and giving them the power to choose who is allowed to see it. This ensures confidentiality from family members, employers and other health care providers without explicit consent of the patient.

Though HIPAA was created to be beneficial to the needs of patients, it has been wrongly used as a deterrent preventing LGBT individuals from being included in the medical processes of their partners. Discrimination can often be seen in visitation privileges, rights reserved for “family”, end-of-life care decisions, and conversations with medical personnel. These biases are more prevalent in states with conservative laws and views about same-sex marriage and civil unions. Medical institutions get caught up between their own rules and state regulations in terms of what constitutes a family or a marriage.

HIPAA is often used as a scapegoat for these discriminations, to put the blame on something other than personal prejudice. This is wrong however because HIPAA was designed to protect the wishes of the patient and to do what was in the patient’s best interest, after advisement of the doctor but regardless of the doctor’s opinion.

Hopefully with increased education about this issue as well as what a patients rights are within HIPAA, not only among the LGBT community but in medical environments as well, such prejudices will diminish and be eradicated so that HIPAA can be used for its original purpose, to improve the healing experience of the patient without the risk of losing his or her own privacy.

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