The LGBT Health Bill You Never Heard Of

Health care disparities along racial lines, sexual orientation, and gender identity, are a “function of not only access to health care, but also the social determinants of health” including the “environment, the physical structure of communities, nutrition and food options,” CAP’s Kellan Baker writes in a new column. “Discrimination limits opportunity and choice. As a result, gay and transgender people of color may be more likely than the general population—and more likely than either white gay and transgender people, or straight and nontransgender people of color—to be less healthy and experience greater disparities in health care access.” Fortunately, congressional lawmakers are taking important steps to close these disparities and have introduced “The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2011” earlier this month. The bill — which seeks to include sexual orientation and gender identity questions on federally supported health surveys and eventually develop standards to guide the routine collection of high-quality data on the health of gay and transgender communities — “is the most comprehensive legislation ever to recognize that gay and transgender health disparities cannot be addressed in isolation from other health disparities, including disparities affecting people with disabilities, communities of color, women, and people in families with mixed immigration statuses.”