The LGBTQ population makes up approximately 10% of the population in the US. This means that one tenth of the human population has to overcome tremendous challenges to receive the basic human right to healthcare. Healthcare discrimination is one of the most serious and unfortunate forms of discrimination because everyone needs medical care at some point in their life. While things are not nearly as bad for the LGBTQ community as it was a couple decades ago, healthcare discrimination seems to still be an issue developing today. There are many laws and legislation passed during Obama’s presidency to end healthcare discrimination, such as the Customer Non-Discrimination Act. This act states that it is prohibited to discriminate based on sex or sexual orientation on a number of rights, including the right to healthcare. While this act was written with good intentions, unfortunately it is not being followed in numerous parts of the US. The LGBTQ population is often refused the right to healthcare due to denied health by doctors personal choices, care from inadequately trained doctors, and financial/documental discrimination.
Doctors refusing to treat LGBTQ patients because of personal preferences are the main way LGBTQ face healthcare discrimination. Doctors refused medical care to Trans patients very often, but this form of discrimination often goes unnoticed. The US Department of Health and Human Services declared their passing of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. This new regulation is designed to support doctors refusing their service based on religious or moral grounds. Lee comes to the conclusion that the health disparities faced by the LGBTQ community are mainly associated with discrimination within the society, arrogance, and assumptions made about sexuality. In Lee’s article, “Queering the Health Care System: Experiences of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community”, She discovers, “These health disparities have been associated with social discrimination, ignorance, and assumptions made about gender, sex, and sexuality” (Lee). She goes on the explain that these assumptions mostly likely end in doctors refusing treatment at all. In a survey conducted in 2017, 29% LGBTQ participants their healthcare provider has declined to treat them based on their sexual identity. Research continues to prove how common it is for LGBTQ individuals to be treated unjustly in the name of this new regulation.
The most common example of LGBTQ refused right to sufficing healthcare is being assisted by doctors with inadequate medical training to treat them. In “LGBT Healthcare Disparities: What Progress Have We Made?”, The author explain that despite some new medical adavnces made for the LGBTQ community in the past decade, “there continues to be a dearth of cultural competency education and training for healthcare professionals focused on clinical assessment and treatment of LGBT patients” (Bonvicini). The current training provided to medical students is not thorough enough to put an end to the healthcare disparities faced by LGBTQ. The present medical school curriculum does gives much more importance to traditional topics than modern essentials. Many from the LGBTQ community have admitted to avoiding medical care in worry of experiencing bias and faulty treatment. This is a very serious issue that needs to be dealt with, or more LGBTQ patient will not receive desperately needed medical attention. Time are changing and medicine needs to change with it.
Financial and documentation discrimination on hospital forms and bills is another one of the unfortunate health disparities LGBTQ individual must face. This inequity generally occurs through unjust billing fees and delayed adoption certificates. In “Texts, Disability, and LGBTQ Parents”, the author explains that:
Parents [of LGBTQ patients] considered how LGBTQ identity and other intersectional identities influenced their experiences of institutional texts including adoption certificates, intake forms, and assessments. Findings suggest that documentation practices can operate as forms of systemic gatekeeping. LGBTQ identity was very significant in parents’ accounts.(Gibson)
This prejudice not only affects patients hospital bills but also other health related finances. For example in 2014, there was a study conducted which revealed that the LGBTQ are more commonly found without health insurance.
Through many surveys, research, and patient testimonies, it becomes evident that LGBTQ people are denied the right to healthcare through, unwilling doctors to treat them, doctors uneducated about LGBTQ medicine, and financial/ institutional prejudice. By enforcing and passing new legislation to protect the LGBTQ populations rights, our country can become closer to equal right to healthcare for everyone. Healthcare is not a privilege reserved for the entitled, but a human right that should be available to everyone.