While a number of gay organizations have joined their left-wing cohorts in backing the President’s push to overhaul our health care system, Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, offers a word of caution:
The truth is that Democratic efforts to expand government-run healthcare will expand discrimination and make quality, affordable healthcare even less available to gay and lesbian families all across the country.
The Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, and signed by a Democratic president — Bill Clinton — prohibits the extension of domestic partner healthcare benefits and denies recognition of any same-sex relationship. Indeed, even the Obama administration admitted that this legislation would bar the extension of domestic partner healthcare benefits.
Emphasis added. And then there’s the matter of gay people who work for small companies that currently offer domestic partnership benefits. If the cost of the federal penalty for not providing health insurance is less than the cost they are currently paying for health insurance, some businesses may, in order to cut costs, choose to pay the penalty instead of offering coverage, potentially forcing both partners into the public option.
Rather than a “do nothing” approach to health care reform (and so fulfill the caricature the President has drawn of his opponents), LaSalvia believes that “free-market healthcare reforms . . . will expand access to domestic partner benefits,” meaning more choices for people like us. Echoing a point I have often made on this blog, LaSalvia points out that the free market has responded more quickly to the increasing social acceptance of gay men and lesbians than has government at all levels:
The gay community should know by now that the marketplace has always treated gays and lesbians better than the government has. In fact, according to the Human Rights Campaign — the self-professed voice of the LGBT community — 83 percent of Fortune 100 companies offer domestic partner benefits to their gay employees, benefits denied by law to employees of the federal government.
Read the whole thing, especially for the background he provides how past Republican efforts at reform would have benefited gay people. With the record of the private sector in extending benefits to gay people, one wonders why gay groups are so quick to favor government solutions. It’s almost as if they see their role, not as advocating what is best for gay people, but promoting those programs most likely to expand the role of the state in our lives.
And given how all-powerful governments have treated gay people in the past, you’d think that would be the last thing genuine advocates of gay people would promote.