Senator Hatch Attacks HIV/AIDS Service Providers
July 10, 2009
The effort to pass health care reform legislation is heating up this summer, and so, unfortunately, is the opposition to policies that would help LGBT people and people with HIV and AIDS. This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has been considering amendments to its health reform bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act. On Thursday, the committee adopted an amendment offered by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to empower health care providers that focus on low-income and underserved communities. The amendment would require that these types of providers – known as “essential community providers” or ECPs – be included in health insurance plan networks. Many HIV/AIDS service providers and health facilities that focus on LGBT people are ECPs and serve as the primary source of health care for these individuals. Making these providers part of health insurance plan networks will ensure that these individuals can continue to access the health care system through the trusted providers that already serve their communities. Unfortunately, because some ECPs provide reproductive health services as well, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is attacking the Mikulski amendment, falsely asserting that it will force insurance companies to contract with abortion providers. As part of our efforts to ensure that the needs of LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS are addressed in health care reform legislation, HRC will work to protect this and other language that benefits our community.