Today, the Supreme Court hears yet another case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This challenge takes up whether eliminating the penalty for not having health insurance makes the individual mandate unconstitutional, and consequently requires the whole law to fall. If that happens, more than 20 million people will become uninsured, with a disproportionate impact on low-income and underemployed people and those with existing health conditions. Further, this would eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and gut the ACA's non-discrimination protections. The ACA is critically important for LGBT people, and LGBT elders more specifically.
If the Affordable Care Act were overturned by the Supreme Court, the consequences for LGBT elders would be severe — especially in the time of COVID-19. LGBT older people are more likely than other older Americans to have serious health problems and more likely to be poor. That's especially true for older lesbians, transgender elders, and LGBT elders of color. A ruling against the ACA would put LGBT elders at risk. That's not what caring looks like.
"Amidst the public crisis that our country is grappling with in the midst of a global pandemic, we cannot responsibly entertain the possibility of tens of millions of people, including many LGBT elders, losing critically important health care coverage," said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. "LGBT older people suffer from serious health disparities that are particularly consequential in the time of COVID-19. They need the Affordable Care Act. That's why SAGE has joined several amicus briefs this year supporting the ACA's non-discrimination protections. We're a community that takes care of our own."
As we continue to fight a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, we believe that we must do all that we can to honor and support LGBT elders who now, more than ever, need the protections and coverage afforded by the ACA. We must ensure that this population still has access to the foundational coverage and protections that the ACA provides.
SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at sageusa.org .