Public Health Legislation
Throughout this course, you have learned about the importance of political advocacy: how legislation can impact healthcare delivery, quality of care, patient outcomes, and various healthcare professional’s roles and practice.
For this final assignment, you will research current legislation related to public health (Unit 7 topics are a great place to start). Identify a piece of legislation you feel passionately about. You will complete parts I and II below, to illustrate your understanding of the legislation, state your position, call for action, etc.
Audience: Politicians who will be voting on your identified legislation.
Prepare a professional paper, summarizing the legislation itself, your position, call for action, etc. Cite relevant sources, which may include industry leader’s perspectives, or scholarly research. Minimum length of five pages.
Public Health Legislation
Currently, some of the most important legislation related to public health have been legislations that have focused on eliminating marginalization and discrimination of some groups in the population from the healthcare system. Over the year, blatant discrimination in terms of different characteristics such as sex and gender have therefore thrived in healthcare systems resulting in the formulation of different policies to try and mitigate marginalization and discrimination from healthcare systems. One of the most affected groups by discrimination and marginalization in healthcare systems is the LGBTQ community. Most of the time, members of the LGBTQ community are therefore not able to access quality healthcare services because of their sexual identity. In this paper, H.R.5 – Equality Act, a Legislation introduced in the United States Congress in 2019, will be considered, including the provisions of the legislation, the author’s position on the legislation, and a call for action for current leaders.
Summary of Legislation
H.R.5 – Equality Act, legislation, is one of the most recent legislation that has been introduced in the United States Congress to deal with the issue of marginalization and discrimination of members of the LGBT community in healthcare delivery systems(Congress.gov, 2020). The law was introduced in the 116 Congress, which was in session between 2019 and 2020 by Cecilline David, who is the representative for Rhode Island District and is also a member of the Democratic Party (Congress.gov, 2020).
The H.R.5 – Equality Act prohibits any form of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in all social areas. The Equality Act highlights that discrimination normally occurs on the basis of sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, childbirth, pregnancy, or other related medical condition of an individual(Congress.gov, 2020). Discrimination also occurs as a result of sex-based stereotypes. The highlighted factors can serve as a basis for discrimination, and all include a form of sex discrimination. According to the Equality Act, single instances of discrimination can have different reasons. For instance any forms of discrimination against a same-sex couple that is married can be based on the stereotype that only heterosexual couples should marry or based on the sexual identity of the married partners (Congress.gov, 2020). Discrimination among members of the LGBTQ community can occur in different forms. According to Ayhan et al. (2019), lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals normally experience different forms of discrimination in accessing public services, including healthcare facilities, restaurants, shelters, youth service providers, government offices, and senior centers, among other important facilities. The different forms of discrimination that members of the LGBTQ community counter include denial of entry, exclusion, unfair treatment, harassment, unequal treatment, and even violence (Baptiste-Roberts et al., 2017). The rampant discrimination of members of the LGBTQ community from different social places, including healthcare facilities, prevents such groups from fully participating in society and even experiencing some adverse effects. For instance, in instances where members of the LGBTQ community will be discriminated against, including being harassed, being denied, or being treated unfairly in healthcare facilities, such individuals are more likely to experience adverse health effects(Jennings et al., 2019). This is because members of the LGBTQ community may avoid visiting a healthcare facility as a result of fearing being discriminated against and may fail to utilize important health care services such as preventative care. Discrimination of members of the LGBTQ community also makes such individuals more susceptible to adverse health outcomes as they may not clearly communicate their health care needs with health care practitioners due to fear of stigmatization(Ayhan et al., 2019). As a result of not communicating effectively with healthcare practitioners, members of the LGBTQ community will be exposed to the risk of misdiagnosis and a lack of diagnosis in many instances. According to the Equality Act, individuals belonging to the LGBTQ community have consistently experienced pervasive widespread, and persistent discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity not only in the private sector but also in the local, state, and federal government status. The pervasive discrimination of members of the LGBTQ community has affected different elements of their social life, including public accommodations such as healthcare facilities housing and from programs and activities that receive federal, financial assistance such as healthcare insurance programs including Medicare and Medicaid (Nagata, 2017).
I support H.R.5 – Equality Act which was introduced in the US Congress and passed the house in 2019 but has stalled in the Congress after being referred to the committee on judiciary. The Equality Act can play a significant role in helping to prohibit any forms of discrimination as a result of gender, identity, sex, and sexual orientation in different sections of modern society. One of the areas that have been significantly affected by discrimination directed to members of the LGBTQ community is healthcare. LGBTQ people frequently face a lot of healthcare challenges as a result of social stigma, discrimination, and violence. As the US has a heteronormative culture in which heterosexuality is the default expected norm, LGBTQ individuals will normally endure stigma and shame. Significant biases against members of the LGBTQ community from their community, family, work, and the school can affect their personal safety and mental health. Individuals from the LGBTQ community can experience peer victimization, which can be a significant cause of high-risk sexual behaviors among middle and high school students that can result in serious health repercussions (Ayhan et al., 2019). On the other hand, although individuals from the LGBTQ community are more susceptible to substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and suicide due to the discrimination they experience from society, they face significant barriers in accessing healthcare services, especially due to a lack of culturally competent providers and isolation from the society. Members of the LGBTQ community find it hard to access quality healthcare services because of significant barriers such as financial barriers, legal discrimination, access to employment, adoption, housing, retirement benefits, health insurance, lack of sufficient social programs that are inclusive of LGBTQ people, shortage of healthcare providers who are knowledgeable and culturally competent in a way that it can significantly improve LGBTQ health and significant negative provider attitudes (Baptiste-Roberts et al., 2017). Barriers to healthcare among members of the LGBTQ community can also significantly worsen when combined with other forms of discrimination such as xenophobia and systemic racism. Members of the LGBTQ community who are immigrants will therefore have limited proficiency in English and therefore be more vulnerable in healthcare systems.