With the end of open enrollment only a few days away, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius hosted a call yesterday thanking LGBT community centers, health centers, and organizations for their work in getting LGBT communities enrolled in the health insurance marketplace. Both spoke about the parallels between equal rights for LGBT people and equal access to healthcare, and about the significance and importance of the Affordable Care Act.
Sebelius started off the call by reviewing the health disparities in LGBT Communities, including the higher rates of cancer and tobacco use. Biden described the initial website issues as a “tough start”, but went on to credit Sebelius with the fact that “things are now moving!” He gave a few shout-outs to Out2Enroll and the Lesbian Health Initiative, among others, and emphasized two really important points: 1. Legally married same-sex couples can now get healthcare coverage, even if same-sex marriage is not recognized in their home state. 2. NOTHING about enrolling can affect immigration status AT ALL.
Biden described access to health insurance as being about responsibility, peace of mind and security, and choice, opportunity and freedom- Taking responsibility for yourself and your health, having peace of mind (and he said that for the young folks who aren’t worried about their health, do it for peace of mind of your mothers and fathers!), and the choice, opportunity and freedom to not be stuck in dead-end jobs because of insurance, and to not have to worry that if you move to another state you will lose your insurance.
Biden closed the call by saying that the ACA is one of the “seminal changes in American policy” and encouraging a huge push of the last few days of open enrollment- either online, over the phone or in-person!
– enroll on-line at healthcare.gov
-enroll over the phone at 1-800-318-2596 (open 24 hours!)
– enroll in person by going to local help.healthcare.gov and finding a navigator at your local community center, health center or library!
“Healthcare is a RIGHT. The debate is over.” – Joe Biden
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“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it really is a new day”. – Kathleen Sebelius