HRC Responds to Trump Refusing to Reopen Obamacare Exchanges

by HRC Staff

Post submitted by Lucas Acosta (he/him), former Deputy Director of Communications, Politics

Over 20 million Americans and almost one-in-five LGBTQ people lack health coverage.

Today, HRC responded to the Trump administration’s decision against reopening the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces to new customers despite millions of Americans living without health insurance during a global pandemic.

"Our country is in crisis. Americans are finding themselves jobless, lying awake at night trying to find ways to make ends meet and put food on their tables. The last thing people should worry about in a pandemic is access to health care,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Over 20 million Americans and almost one-in-five LGBTQ people lack health coverage. By not reopening the ACA exchange, Trump is making the LGBTQ community, and every marginalized community across this nation, more vulnerable to the virus. Yet again, Trump has failed us when we needed presidential leadership most. Americans need the exchange reopened, President Trump must act now.”

Last month, HRC released a research brief highlighting the fact that LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to the health risks of the virus. They are less likely to have health coverage, are more likely to smoke and have asthma, and have a variety of chronic illnesses:

  • 17% of LGBTQ people lack health coverage;
  • One in five LGBTQ people have not seen a doctor when they needed to because they couldn’t afford it;
  • 37% of LGBTQ adults smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people;
  • 21% of LGBTQ people have asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people;

LGBTQ people are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis:

  • One in five LGBTQ people live in poverty and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ;
  • The top 5 industries that LGBTQ adults work in are industries heavily impacted by COVID-19, affecting more than 5 million LGBTQ workers or 40% of LGBTQ workers (compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ individuals working in those industries);
  • A disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants (15%) compared to their non-LGBTQ peers (6%) and the median wage in 2018 for food preparation and service occupations is $11.09 per hour;
  • Only 29% of respondents to HRC Foundation’s 2018 LGBTQ Paid Leave Survey said their employer offers paid leave specifically for medical reasons and that they were eligible to use it.

Further, given the severity of this pandemic, HRC has taken steps to protect the health and safety of our staff, members, volunteers, supporters and all those who are fighting so hard to advance equality and build a better world for all of us. Specifically, HRC will, among other things, cancel or postpone all of our public events, including our gala dinners. Find a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and resources at this link. Read the full brief here.