This article originally appeared on Medium.com on October 27, 2017.
In the past week, Republicans in the House and Senate have passed non-binding budget resolutions: recommendations for how the party thinks spending should be allocated, or to be accurate, cut. The lowered spending, combined with tax cuts for the wealthy and the super-wealthy, would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. budget deficit - the difference between income and spending. For bisexual people, who are statistically lower income, less likely to have health insurance, and more likely to have a disability than gay, lesbian, and heterosexual people, the proposed budget would be devastating.
The resolution passed in the Senate on Thursday includes drastic cuts to healthcare spending, including Medicare and Medicaid. Simultaneously, the resolution slashes subsidies for health insurance plans purchased through the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA did help more LGBT people, including bisexual people, get health insurance. But among lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents to a recent survey by the Center for American Progress, nineteen percent of bisexual people still lacked insurance, compared to six percent of gay men and four percent of lesbians. Without subsidies, bisexual people will struggle to access affordable care.
For bisexual people, who are statistically lower income, less likely to have health insurance, and more likely to have a disability than gay, lesbian, and heterosexual people, the proposed budget would be devastating.
And bisexual people experience deep economic insecurity: forty-eight percent of bisexual people live on a household income of less than $30,000 a year. Among transgender people, a third (33%) of bisexual people live in poverty (around $24,000 for a family of four).
Economic insecurity means less ability to afford health insurance, and it also means less ability to afford health care. In one study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of bisexual people reported not getting needed medical care in the past year due to cost, compared to 12% of gay and lesbian and 8% of heterosexual people. Among bisexual transgender people, the percentage doubles.
Low-income, more likely to avoid medical care due to cost, and less likely to have health insurance in the first place, bisexual people are also more likely to have a disability. According to the Williams Institute, 22% of heterosexual men, 26% of gay men, and 40% of bisexual men report having a disability. Among transgender people, 42% of bisexual transgender people report having a disability.
People with disabilities and low-income people may qualify for Medicaid. In fact, Medicaid currently covers at least 1.8 million LGBT adults, including including 31% of LGBTQ adults living with a disability and 40% of LGBTQ adults with incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level.
The proposed cuts to Medicaid would leave the people that comprise these statistics, the low-income people, the people with disabilities, the people who lack health insurance, without the means to pay for necessary medical care. In fact, the cuts would leave them with no recourse at all.
If you need health insurance, please visit out2enroll.org. These proposed budget cuts are not law yet. Open enrollment period for plans sold on the state and nation exchanges is from November 1st to December 15th this year. Out2Enroll offers enrollment help for LGBT people and their families.
Or you can enroll directly at www.healthcare.gov. You can preview plans now.