ActionLink's November News
National Adoption Month tarnished by newly proposed discriminatory rule: The administration marked National Adoption Month by proposing a new rule that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ+ youth and families. LGBTQ youth can be denied identity-affirming services and can even be placed with families who vow to ignore or outright shame their identity. And LGBTQ parents, who are seven times more likely to foster and adopt than non-LGBTQ parents, can be turned away simply because of who they are or who they love.
But there's more. This rule would apply to many other HHS grant-funded programs too, including HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, health professional training and education, health research, youth leadership development, anti-trafficking programs, and child support enforcement. We’re joining LGBTQ+ advocates across the country in speaking out against the latest attack on our community. You can join us too, by submitting a comment in opposition of the newly proposed rule.
Wyatt's Story: I Survived Conversion Therapy: Last week ActionLink spoke to one of our young activists named Wyatt. As a teen, Wyatt spent a year at a Utah boarding school where he was subjected to numerous conversion therapy sessions. Conversion therapy describes any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is sometimes called reparative therapy or reorientation therapy. Every major mental health organization has issued warnings about the risks and dangers associated with this type of therapy. Although he continues to battle negative effects from the dangerous and ineffective practice, Wyatt is also thriving and advocating for a nation-wide ban on conversion therapy. Here's his story.
The marketplaces are open for business: Open enrollment is back and Healhcare.gov is open for business! Nothing has changed when it comes to LGBTQ people being protected from discrimination when accessing health care and health insurance. Section 1557’s nondiscrimination protections currently remain in place. Need free, in-person assistance from someone who is LGBTQ-friendly? Out2Enroll works with local assisters across the country who are committed to creating an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and affirming. Get started here.
Adding a comprehensive oral health benefit to Medicare Part B: Medicare is the primary source of health coverage for older adults and younger individuals with disabilities but is explicitly excludes coverage for most dental services. Today, approximately 37 million Medicare beneficiaries have no dental coverage. Consequently, nearly half of them have not seen a dentist within the past year. Without access to treatment, Medicare beneficiaries experience significant adverse health outcomes, with certain populations suffering more acutely. Recently the House Ways & Means Committee voted to advance the Medicare Dental Act of 2019 (H.R. 4650). If passed, it would help to address coverage and disparities in oral health treatment. Click here to learn more about the Medicare Dental Act of 2019.