Despite the fact that the acceptance of the LGBTQ community is increasing gradually, and their Human rights are being accepted more, they continue to experience different and worse healthcare outcomes when compared to other people (Hafeez et al., 2017). They experience disparities such as lack of cultural competency in the healthcare institutions, low rates in as much as insurance coverage is concerned, and discrimination which automatically leads to stress and depression. As a result, they find themselves at a higher risk of acquiring diseases such as mental illnesses. Additionally, they most often indulge in unhealthy activities such as alcoholism and smoking. This is worse for those who belong to racial and ethnic minority groups.
To close these disparities, for starters, we need to get mechanisms on how to get comprehensive data on the disparities. Most of the data that is currently being provided puts focus on STIs and has continuously ignored research on matters affecting the LGBTQ community such as mammograms for lesbians (Hafeez et al., 2017). When researching mental health, the focus will be placed on groups such as the youth while members of the LGBTQ community who are most affected by the stigma are forgotten. For instance, the US Department of Health and Human Services can open a program for LGBT health. It would be responsible for researching the disparities faced by the community and providing responses for them. Additionally, any protection of people’s rights based on age, sex, race, and ethnicity should include people’s sexual orientation and identity-based on gender.
Another disparity faced by LGBTQ people is that they lack efficient health coverage. This is wrapped around the social stigma they face. Firstly, the discrimination they experience in all social settings including workplaces means that they are more likely to be fired from their jobs, quit them, or not get the job in the first place (Stinchcombe et al., 2017). Consequently, most Americans get their insurance from their employees. Therefore, when a gap is created in employment, a similar gap is created in insurance. Additionally, many workplaces provide insurance for people and their legal partners. Some refuse to provide insurance for same-sex partners. Therefore, to close disparities, policies should be introduced where such discrimination in employment and insurance are criminalized.
With the improvement of programs such as Medicaid and Obama care, more illnesses that were not covered by insurance before have begun to get coverage. However, there are no insurance plans that cover specific types of care that the LGBTQ community needs. For example, they are not able to get basic preventative care. Therefore, in most cases, like in the case of transgenders, they opt to either receive low-quality treatments or forego the treatment completely. Therefore, making these treatments eligible would greatly reduce the disparity. They would be able to get treatments for pre-existing conditions such as HIV/AIDS and preventive services.
Finally, putting efforts to close the stigma that is associated with being a member of the LGBTQ community, would be the most effective way to close the health disparities. First, the frequent harassment and discrimination would reduce if not end leading to a reduction in the number of mental health issues. Additionally, abuse of drugs would reduce because most of them turn to drugs in a quest for self-medication. Training medical practitioners on how to be culturally competent and provide competent care to them would also close the disparity (Stinchcombe et al., 2017). Conditions would not go undiagnosed and mortality rates would reduce.
Hafeez, H., Zeshan, M., Tahir, M. A., Jahan, N., & Naveed, S. (2017). Health care disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: a literature review. Cureus, 9(4). https://dx.doi.org/10.7759%2Fcureus.1184
Stinchcombe, A., Smallbone, J., Wilson, K., & Kortes-Miller, K. (2017). Healthcare and end-of-life needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults: a scoping review. Geriatrics, 2(1), 13.
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