CHARLOTTE — LGBT advocacy and political organizations weighed in on both sides of the healthcare debate today, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform law including the legislation’s so-called individual mandate.
Signed into law last March, the Affordable Care Act requires individuals without insurance plans to maintain health insurance coverage or face a tax penalty. The law also includes several reforms and added regulatory guidelines for the private health insurance industry, does away with some restrictions on coverage for pre-existing conditions and expands access to coverage for children and youth.
Openly gay Gaston County Democratic Party Chair Robert Kellogg praised today’s court decision.
“This is a victory for America,” Kellogg said in a written release. “Those who are not a part of Mitt Romney’s 1 percent now have basic healthcare rights to affordable health care and cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions or economic status.”
Kellogg added, “I am proud of our president who has constantly stood up to corporate America and done the right thing for middle-class America.
Statewide LGBT advocacy and education group Equality North Carolina also praised the decision, saying the court’s ruling protects accessibility and affordability of health care for LGBT people.
“Equality NC applauds today’s Supreme Court ruling which upholds critical protections for LGBT people and their families. We celebrate this ruling and the benefits it will have in improving access to quality, affordable health care for LGBT people without discrimination,” responded Equality NC executive director, Stuart Campbell. “There is no doubt that this law will hugely benefit LGBT people in the coming years, including thousands of North Carolina individuals and families.”
The National Stonewall Democrats welcomed news of the court’s ruling.
“The Supreme Court did the right thing today in upholding the entirety of the and we applaud their reasoned decision,” said National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jerame Davis. “Health care is a significant piece of the American economy and a basic human right. This ruling ensures that millions of uninsured Americans will get access to healthcare and that no one will get a free ride.”
Davis continued, “The [Affordable Care Act] goes a long way toward leveling the playing field for LGBT Americans to get access to quality and affordable healthcare. The LGBT community is disproportionately affected by certain conditions for which insurance companies routinely denied or discontinued coverage before the enactment of the [law]. This ruling upholding the ACA will ensure that all Americans will have better and more affordable healthcare in the future.”
Other LGBT political groups were quick to condemn today’s news. The LGBT Republican group, Log Cabin Republicans, said the court ruling was a “victory for ‘tax and spend’ liberals.”
“By upholding even the most intrusive provision of [Affordable Care Act], the individual mandate, the court has enabled Washington’s addiction to big government and coercive taxes,” said Log Cabin Republicans Deputy Executive Director Christian Berle. “The individual mandate forced through Congress was an unprecedented expansion of federal power in blatant disregard of the will of the American people. Log Cabin looks forward to working with our Republican allies in Congress to repeal and replace [the law] with real, market-driven reforms that will lower costs while preserving the standard of care Americans deserve.”
Berle said the healthcare law, while constitutional, is not “carved in stone,” noting that it is “time to go back to the drawing board and institute reforms that work for all Americans.”
The Human Rights Campaign and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also released their own statements today. Both groups said the decision were important for adding protections in health care for LGBT people.
The Task Force said more work remains to be done. Calling American healthcare a “severely broken system,” the group reminded the public that many communities, including people of color and economically impoverished people, continue to face disproportionate health inequities.