This month marks the 50th anniversary of Pride – events worldwide that celebrate the progress within the LGBTQ community, but the COVID-19 pandemic means a change of plans. The virus forced the cancellation of hundreds of events around the world, including the L.A. Pride Festival and Parade in which L.A. Care usually participates. In-person celebrations are simply too risky at this time, but this is an important anniversary that must still be celebrated.
Here is a bit of the history.
Pride events started just one year after the Stonewall riots, the June 28, 1969 rebellion that began after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn – one of the few establishments to welcome gay patrons in New York City at the time. While raids on gay bars were routine in the 1950s and 60s, this one got out of control. Patrons were fed up with the never-ending harassment and discrimination. The Stonewall uprising helped strengthen the gay rights movement.
Why does a health plan care about this history?
Research has shown that individuals in the LGBTQ community have faced significant barriers to health care. It has not always been easy to find a provider who is sensitive to the needs of the community. The Affordable Care Act helped address the issue by prohibiting providers and insurance companies from engaging in discrimination, but the current administration in Washington is moving to roll back health care protections for LGBTQ patients.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a proposal that would allow health care workers to deny care to LGBTQ patients based on a religious or moral objection. L.A. Care is among dozens of health care organizations opposed to the proposal. Eliminating health care protections is dangerous under normal circumstances, but in the middle of a pandemic, it could be catastrophic, putting members of the LGBTQ community at serious risk.
During the current health crisis, we repeatedly hear the phrase, “We will get through this together.” But a proposal to scrap LGBTQ health protections make me ponder, “Who is we?” It seems not everyone will have the same opportunity to get through this if the proposal becomes law. Fortunately, we expect several court challenges to this proposal if it were to take effect, and we will stand in support of all of them.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.1 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly-operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.