Healthcare Reform and What it Means to Trans People!


by Emilia Dunham

Reporting on the Philly Trans-Health Conference

Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality reported on their national survey of trans discrimination as well as how healthcare reform affects trans people. When it comes to research, researchers may be able to use the data to advance research on trans folks.

Now with policy, policy efforts have shifted with the new White House administration with health care reform. When working with framers of the Affordable Care Act and advancing the passage, trans advocates had the highest priorities in mind that would benefit transgender and LGB people. Though there aren’t many specifically inclusions, many things like trans healthcare were not excluded and it’s up to the states and advocates to make up the difference in its application, but there have been some huge benefits…

Immediate wins for trans people 

Mara Keisling, NCTE
  • Pre-existing conditions will ending, so now we won’t get denied coverage as often
  • In 2014, more individuals will qualify for Medicaid
  • In 2014, the general public can access independent healthcare (for purchase)
  • Young adults can stay on parents’ plans longer
  • New patient protections

Other Wins

Finally, I would like to point out that this workshop was the most highly attended that I’ve been to, which is just as packed as a similar workshop at Creating Change 2011 on trans policy/research. In my humble opinion, the interest from these workshops but also from our general community shows that the trans community is very concerned about policy, health and research regarding us. Basically, what I’m saying is that if your programs or your work is thinking about including or focusing on this work, you should! Your trans communities will listen, they’ll benefit and with that you should see success!

Published by Emilia Dunham, MPP, MBA

Emilia Dunham is currently a Project Manager at MassHealth/Department of Public Health, and formerly the Project Manager of the Life Skills project at The Fenway Institute, an HIV intervention study for young transgender women. Emilia worked at Fenway for 7 years, first as a Quality Control and Regulatory Assistant mainly involved with biomedical HIV prevention trials, before serving as the Program Associate for The Network for LGBT Health Equity, a network instrumental in many national LGBT health policy improvements. She is also involved with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, serving as a Steering Committee member and the Policy Committee Co-Chair, an organization largely responsible for the recent passage of the Trans Rights Bill. Additionally she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, Co-Chair of the Recommendations Committee. Emilia received a Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. There she served as President of the LGBTQ student group where she planned programs such as Pride Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and AIDS Week. In addition, she advocated for LGBTQ inclusive policies and programming on campus such as a Gender Neutral Housing program, an LGBTQ Center and the expansion of Women’s Studies to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emilia recently earned a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration in health policy and management from the Brandeis Heller School School for Social Policy and Management.

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