According to reported statistics, more than a half million people have used the healthcare exchange/marketplace created by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to obtain health insurance under the Biden administration. This is possible due to the expanded open enrollment in 2021 which continues until August 15, 2021.

With the ACA often misunderstood/maligned and the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in millions of people losing their health insurance, especially vulnerable minority communities, we wanted to review what the ACA is really all about.

The ACA was enacted in 2010 to ensure access to adequate/minimum value affordable healthcare, protect consumers from insurance companies, and attempt to distribute medical costs more evenly. It is commonly referred to as Obamacare after it was championed and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

In 2021, employee-based healthcare is considered to be affordable if your insurance premiums are less than

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) people are members of every community. They are diverse, come from all walks of life, include people of all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the country. The healthcare needs of LGBTQIA people are sometimes unique and often overlooked, contributing to health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations.

Experts report that LGBTQIA people often avoid seeking out medical care or refrain from “coming out” to their healthcare provider . This compromises an entire community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual people who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups

  • Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; 
  • Lesbians and bisexual women are less likely to get cancer screenings; 
  • Transgender people are among the least likely to have health insurance along with risks from hormone replacement and atypical cancers; 
  • Intersex people (people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the binary definitions of female or male) often have trouble finding doctors familiar enough with their bodies to provide appropriate care, or even filling out forms/paperwork with only binary gender options
  • Asexual people (people with little-to-no sexual attraction towards others) commonly have aspects of their care neglected by providers

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) had helped over 10 million Americans gain insurance during the Obama administration, including many LGBTQIA people. The ACA

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Photo by Cody Pulliam

Social justice is the concept that all individuals deserve equal rights and opportunities — including the right to health. Inequities remain in healthcare that are avoidable, unnecessary, and unjust. These inequities are the result of established policies and practices that maintain an unequal concentration of money, power, resources, and perceived value within society among communities based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, country of origin, or disability. Racism, homophobia/transphobia, and misogyny are all insidious forms of bigotry that have long-reaching effects into healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequities in American healthcare. Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many vulnerable people at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Patients of color are more likely to test positive and experience more severe health consequences from the novel coronavirus; more likely to be affected by conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer that increases their risk; and more likely to work jobs that risk exposure

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Photo by Tiffany Tertipes

We are getting further away from Election Day in the U.S. and getting closer to 2021 when many of the changes voted on and passed will begin to take effect. Americans voted for much more than president that will impact our nation’s healthcare this past November. Several states voted to legalize or decriminalize cannabis (aka marijuana), therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms, and Oregon voters approved a measure that decriminalizes small possession amounts of all illicit drugs.

Five states — Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi — voted to legalize some form of cannabis use. Despite being a Schedule I substance federally, defined as having no accepted medical use, a total of 35 states plus Washington, DC now have cannabis as a medicinal option for patients. Cannabis is most commonly prescribed for pain relief but can also be used to treat muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, lack of appetite from chronic illness, seizure disorders, and Crohn’s disease.

Oregon is the first state to legalize

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) Health Insurance Marketplace began its ninth Open Enrollment period yesterday. American healthcare consumers can sign up on the federal insurance exchange at healthcare.gov or through their state marketplaces. In recent years there has been increased confusion surrounding Open Enrollment due to changes (and attempted changes) made to the ACA under the Trump administration, leading to the U.S. uninsured rate to rise for the first time since 2014 and the largest single-year increase since 2008.

When Obama was president and launched the ACA, Open Enrollment period ran 90 days beginning November 1 and running until the end of January. Open Enrollment was cut by President Trump to 45 days in 2017 unless you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period which extends enrollment by an additional 60 days. Advertising and outreach budgets for Open Enrollment have faced cuts, limiting the people able to access assistance or appropriate information that can help them.

New rules put out by the Trump administration allow ACA subsidies to be used for

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