On Friday the White House responded to President Barack Obama's problems with health care reform by announcing that former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe would be "stepping up" his advisory role in the Administration. The very next day Plouffe wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post and suggests the White House could drop Obama's longstanding promise to ban insurer's from discriminating against pre-existing conditions.
Gay men and especially black gay men should be extremely concerned. Black and Latino gay men are more likely to be HIV positive and much more likely to be uninsured or under-insured. Some insurance companies deny coverage to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Health care premiums for PLWHA can be more expensive. Insurers have also been known to retroactively cancel policies for policyholders who test positive for HIV.
Plouffe's op-ed reads in part:
If we do pass it, dozens of protections and benefits take effect this year. Parents won't have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition. Workers won't have to worry that their coverage will be dropped because they get sick. Seniors will feel relief from prescription costs. Only if the plan becomes law will the American people see that all the scary things Sarah Palin and others have predicted -- such as the so-called death panels -- were baseless.
AMERICABlog's John Aravosis adds: "Before anyone argues that Plouffe was simply using children as an example—that the legislation could still cover everyone—look at what else happened in the last two days. CBS News reported the pre-existing conditions promise was now looking unlikely. But even worse, the NYT talked to folks on the Hill and health policy experts, and they were told the compromise package might just protect kids under the age of 19 from being denied for pre-existing conditions. No one else."
And this from Pam Spaulding: "In a state of panic to pass something, anything, the Democrats are turning on the big bus, revving the engine, and Pelosi, Reid and the President are fighting to floor it and run over all the people with diabetes, MS, AIDS, and any other chronic, expensive illnesses who have been waiting for...what was that word? Oh, that's right—CHANGE."
Is there health care "reform" without banning insurance companies from discriminating against the HIV positive? Absolutely not.