As we grow older we start to worry about our health and will we end up in a long term care facility. Connecticut has some good laws that protect us from discrimination and harassment, but all that my change under the Trump administration.
New year brings uncertainty and fear for some LGBTQ eldersWith the massive cuts for HIV/AIDS funding those living with AIDS are going to be faced with keeping a roof over their head verse paying for the meds that keep them alive.
By Julie Compton
As many Americans think about what they will receive this Christmas, some lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors are wondering what they may lose in the new year. A number of them even wonder if they’ll still have homes.
Tom, a retired banker, receives less than half of his pre-retirement income. In 2015, he moved into a senior living complex in the Bronx. Now 76, he said he’s worried about losing his apartment. In May, the Trump administration announced plans to slash funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which Tom depends on for his housing subsidy.
Although not a LGBT problem per se but it affects us just the same, for many trans people they are already living in substandard housing.
LGBTQ elders with HIV are particularly vulnerable, according to Michael Adams, CEO of Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE), which organized Thursday's holiday party at the Bronx center and other centers throughout the city. Adams said many suffer from comorbidity issues that worsen with age.
Half of people with HIV in the U.S. are aged 50 or older, according to Adams, and he said financial security and poverty are major challenges for many LGBTQ elders, particularly those living with HIV.
Then there is the fear of discrimination in senior housing and long term care facilities.That is where the real danger lies, if staff in long term care facilities can legally refuse to treat you where are you going to get healthcare?
Adams is also concerned about an ongoing Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case will determine whether a baker had the right to turn away a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs. Some argue religious exemptions are about freedom of speech, not discrimination. But Adams said such exemptions could have a devastating impact on LGBTQ elders across the country. He said 85 percent of longtime senior care providers are religiously affiliated organizations.
Also, the Trump administration has repealed the HUD rules banning long term care facilities from initiating binding arbitration and regulations according to USA Today.
Rodney Whitlock, a health policy consultant and former Republican Senate staffer, said health inspectors “are out there looking for opportunities to show that the nursing homes are not living up to some extremely tight standards.” He said while the motivation for tough regulation was understandable, “the fines don’t make it easier to hire people and doesn’t make it easier to stay in business.”Those “burdensome regulations” have a purpose, to protect us. To make sure there is proper staffing, to make sure the staff is properly trained.
In June, CMS rescinded another Obama administration action that banned nursing homes from pre-emptively requiring residents to submit to arbitration to settle disputes rather than going to court.
While adding binding arbitration will keep us from filing a discrimination complaint with state agencies. They can totally ignore the non-discrimination laws and our only recourse would be to go to arbitration where the LTC facility gets to pick the judge.