National Coalition for LGBT Health Advocacy Brief – March 5, 2020

National LGBT Health Awareness Week Theme: “Turn OUT for LGBT Health”

The National Coalition for LGBT Health is excited to announce the theme for the 18th annual National LGBT Health Awareness Week is “Turn OUT for LGBT Health.” This theme encourages the LGBTQ+ community to “Turn OUT” for health through voting, education, and advocacy. This theme was developed based on a national survey of our members to assess the top LGBTQ+ health issues.
The National Coalition for LGBT Health created National LGBT Health Awareness Week and will be hosting it on March 23 – 29, 2020. The Week will bring attention to the health disparities impacting the LGBTQ+ community, educate the LGBTQ+ community about health issues, and increase education for healthcare professionals in cultural competency.

Please sign up as a partner for the National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week. As a partner, your organization will promote the week through your networks and participate in awareness activities. Additionally, your organization will be listed on the National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week Website and promotional materials. There is no cost to be a partner.

Click to Sign Up as a Awareness Week PartnerClick Here to Register to Vote 

A promotional toolkit will be distributed and will include the logo in poster and flyer formats and social media sample posts. Additionally, the Coalition will be sending “Turn OUT for LGBT Health” stickers to partner organizations to wear during Awareness Week.

Tell Congress to Protect Copay Assistance

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed diminishing the benefit of manufacturer copay assistance (coupon cards) in their proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021. As you know well, millions of Americans, including LGBTQ individuals, rely on copay assistance to lower their out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter and allow them to afford their medications. This proposal would prohibit the benefits of manufacturer copay assistance from counting toward a person’s annual out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles – shifting an enormous cost onto patients who rely on their insurance to provide affordable access to their medicines. There is still time to let Congress know they need to take action to stop this, and we need your voice heard.

Call your congressperson now! Tell him/her to join the Dear Colleague letter being led by Representatives Donald McEachin (D-VA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), John Joyce (R-PA), and Rodney Davis (R-IL) to stop this proposal.

Click Here to Find Your CongresspersonWhat is His/Her Number

Tell Your Congressperson:

  • The Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021, if finalized, would limit access to medicines
  • Copay assistance helps people afford their medicines
  • CMS should not finalize this provision and instead protect copay assistance
  • Sign onto the Dear Colleague letter to protect your constituents who rely on copay assistance!

Sign On Letter Submitted to CMS Regarding Copay Accumulator Programs

Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) releases a Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) rule outlining planned changes that will impact the nation’s health insurance marketplace. This year’s proposed rule, released on January 31, issued a major blow to consumers by walking back a ban on accumulator adjustment programs (also known as co-pay accumulator programs). These programs, adopted by some insurers, prevent individuals who use coupons or “co-pay cards” provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers to off-set the cost of their prescription medications, from counting these coupons toward their deductible or out-of-pocket spending limit.
The Coalition submitted a letter, co-signed by 50+ LGBT, HIV, HCV advocacy organizations, to urge the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services to move forward with the previous policy as part of their “Copays Count” campaign.
The Coalition ran a “Copays Count” campaign last year to address adjustment accumulator programs. Due to recent developments, the Coalition is re-launching its campaign this month. The campaign raises awareness of private insurers implementation of programs that no longer count drug manufacturer’s co-pay card towards deductibles. The Coalition’s campaign highlights how shifting drug costs will impact access to essential medicines.

READ: Click Here for Letter 

Upcoming Supreme Court Cases

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the case California v. Texas. This challenge raises questions about the constitutionality of the ACA’s minimum essential coverage provision, which mandates everyone must have health insurance. This turn of events is profound considering the ACA will be turning 10 this year and will be faced with yet another challenge.
This case, brought forth by more than a dozen Republican states, lead by Texas, became a concern to the ACA when a panel of federal appeal court judges found the provision unconstitutional. However, instead of ruling on the entire law, the panel sent the case back to the Texas federal judge who previously declared the entire law unconstitutional. This opened up the ACA to further debate, making it a forefront issue in the 2020 elections. A coalition of Democratic states, led by California, quickly asked the Supreme Court to intervene hoping to dismantle the ongoing litigation prior to elections. A petition to expedite a decision by June has been denied; as a result, decisions on the case will most likely not be made until next term, furthering the debate on ACA and threatening its survival.
If the Supreme Court sustains the lower court’s ruling, about 20 million Americans could lose coverage and 135 million Americans with preexisting conditions could lose essential protections.

Click Here to Read More

Religious Fight over Same-Sex Foster Care:

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case concerning a major religious right dispute in the case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. This case began when the City of Philadelphia refused to place children for foster care with a Catholic agency that bars same-sex couples from serving as foster parents. The Catholic Social Service agency, an extension of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is appealing to the Supreme Court, accusing the City of violating the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause.
In 2018, a lower court ruled against the agency stating their religious views did not grant them an exemption from the City’s anti-discrimination policy. Now, with a 5-4 conservative majority in the Supreme Court, another chance arises to expand religious rights under the constitution. A ruling against Philadelphia could make it easier for people to cite religious beliefs when seeking exemptions from widely applicable laws.

Click Here to Read More 

Care for LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2019

The Washington D.C. City Council introduce Bill B23-0037 – “Care for LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2019.” As proposed, the Care for LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2019 will include LGBTQ seniors and seniors living with HIV in the definition of groups of greatest social need for the purpose of allocating funds provided to the District under the federal Older American Act. Additionally, the bill will amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to establish LGBTQ and HIV long-term care bill of rights to establish explicit rights and legal protections for LGBTQ+ seniors and people with HIV in long-term care.
The National Coalition for LGBT Health has submitted a letter of support for proposed legislation B23-0037. The Coalition looks forward to supporting the Council on this issue, and working collaboratively to ensure the passage of this vital legislation.

READ: Click Here for Testimony

Join the National Coalition for LGBT Health at SYNChronicity (SYNC) 2020, May 10-12, 2020

SYNChronicity (SYNC) 2020 brings together medical professionals, service providers, government officials, and health advocates to sync effective approaches to address HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ+ health in the changing and dynamic health care landscape, with a focus on underserved racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ communities. The conference is organized by HealthHIV, HealthHCV, and the National Coalition for LGBT Health with the guidance of a diverse planning committee.
This year’s LGBTQ+ Health track will contain four dynamic sessions focused on improving health care access for LGBTQ+ communities, using data to advance quality care and identify gaps in care, advocating for smoking cessation practices and programs to reduce smoking rates, and advancing sexual health and other allied health programming to promote health equity.  Additionally, SYNC 2020 will offer a Transgender Health Institute providing learning and engagement opportunities to promote integration of transgender health in practice. Plus, there for will be a poster hall and vendor exhibits.
The conference is an opportunity to connect with your colleagues and peers to discuss LGBTQ+ health advocacy, education, and health services research! You can register now to attend the conference May 10-12, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.

ACTION: Register Today!

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