Family Equality Council works at all levels of government to ensure that all families have equal access to health care and resources without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity or marital or familial status. We work to ensure that the definition of family is comprehensive and inclusive and that providers are equipped to provide culturally competent care.
The importance of the issue:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people often face unique health issues. Because the law oftentimes treats families with parents who are LGBT as “legal strangers” to one another, the simple process of accessing health care is oftentimes more costly, difficult, and stressful than it is for people who are not LGBT. This results in families with parents who are LGBT failing to receive necessary care. It is in the national interest to ensure that all Americans have equal access to health resources so that they can care for their own health and the health of their families.
Affordable Care Act
Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act
The FAMILY Act would provide employees across the country with access to paid family leave to care for their own serious health condition , or that of a child, parent, or spouse, including a domestic partner.
Healthy Families Act
Family Medical Leave Act
Employees can now take FMLA leave to care for their children, even if they don’t have a legal or biological relationship.
Affordable Care Act implementation.
We are working with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is implemented effectively. Along with a large and diverse coalition of organizations, we are making sure that all Americans, including LGBT people and their families, can access affordable care.
We recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services begin collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Adolescent and Sexual Health
We joined dozens of organizations in 2009 asking the Administration to consider the needs of LGBT young people when planning appropriations for the Office of Adolescent Health.
We joined many of the same organizations thanking the Administration for promoting and funding programs in 2010 that improve sexual and reproductive health for young people around the country.
We asked the Administration again in 2011 to continue funding comprehensive sex education.
Health Equity and Accountability Act
We support the HEAA, which would update the Affordable Care Act to better address health disparities experienced by minority and underserved communities, including families with parents who are LGBT.
Healthy People 2020
We co-signed a letter asking the Department of Health and Human services to explicitly include LGBT people and their families in the Department's long term plan Healthy People 2020.
Resource Kit for LGBT Health
As part of this year’s LGBT Health Awareness Week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration just released a new Information and Resource Kit for LGBT Populations.
Health Care Rights
The National Center for Transgender Equality released the following fact sheet outlining the health care rights of transgender people and how to file complaints of health care discrimination.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMMING
We submitted comments analyzing the Department's Strategic Plan for 2014-2018, advocating for inclusion of LGBT youth and families with LGBT parents.
FEDERAL EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS
We submitted comments thanking the Office of Personnel Management for amending the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program to protect children of same-sex couples.
SERVICEMEMBERS' & VETERANS' GROUP LIFE INSURANCE
We submitted comments to The Department of Veterans Affairs to express our concern over the removal of the term "domestic partner" from the definition of "member of the family" in the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and Veterans' Group Life Insurance-Slayer's Rule Exclusion.
Medicare and Medicaid Program Updates for Rights of Patients' Spouses
We submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, commending them for updating the regulations governing how service providers need to treat same-sex spouses of patients. Under the new rules, all service providers must treat same-sex spouses as they would different-sex spouses, and recognize marriages as long as they were entered into legally in the state where they were celebrated.
Support Services for Family Caregivers of Veterans
We submitted comments to the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding access to support services for family caregivers of injured veterans under the Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program. We asked the Department to amend the regulations governing the program to define "family caregiver" to include an individual who provided day to day care to the veteran, or to whom the veteran provided care, as a child.
Data Collection on LGBTQ Youth in Care and Parents
We submitted comments to the Administration for Children and Families, asking them to gather data on the sexual orientation and gender identity of foster youth and parents seeking to serve as foster or adoptive parents. We also urged the Administration to adopt nondiscrimination protections for LGBT youth and prospective parents, and to provide training to service providers asking youth and parents these questions.
Nondiscrimination in HHS Acquisition Regulations
We submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, applauding them for updating their regulations governing contract requirements to include LGBT nondiscrimination provisions, and requesting that they amend the existing updates to be fully inclusive of all families, among other small changes.
Indian Health Services Health Programs
'Healthy Marriage' Data Collection by ACF
We submitted comments to the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services regarding data collection aimed at improving healthy marriage programs. We urged the Administration to expand data collection and be more inclusive of LGBTQ populations.
Nondiscrimination in Service Grants
We submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on a proposed rule that would codify nondiscrimination in HHS grant programs while also implementing the Obergefell and Windsor decisions. We applauded this rule but pushed for more expansive protections.
More information available soon!