Smoke & Mirrors: Obama Isn’t Really Extending Medicaid To Gay Couples, So Don’t Buy The Hype

All over the Internet news source headlines have read: “Obama To Extend Benefits To Same Sex Couples”.  The problem though is that it’s not exactly true.

With he 2012 Election year looming and a major loss of support from the LGBT grassroots community the Obama Administration is doing everything that it can to try to woo (or trick) the LGBT community to once again backing him and the Democratic party and to once again open our gAyTM’s which have been shuttered since the major slap in the face of basically ignoring us, and many of the promised that he made the first two years in Office while the Democrats held both the House and the Senate and progress might have actually been able to be made on many important issues relating to LGBT community.

You see, Obama isn’t exactly extending anything to us.  He’s giving the INDIVIDUAL STATES THE OPTION to extend Medicaid to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid which is only available to an individual after they run out of money to pay for their care and will  forgo a lien if an individual’s spouse is still living in their house when they are receiving long-term care

Thats really about all.  The problem with this is that right now over 30 States have their own DOMA laws on the books so those states will use that not offer this option.  Some states will use the current financial crisis and the drain it will have on the individual states.  Even if 50% of the states without thie own DOMA laws on the books  do extend the Medicaid option that means this would only be available to LGBT couples in only10 states and help very few LGBT couples. So if you just happen to be gay and live in those other 40 states?  Tough luck. 

But what I find really insulting is that this is not the first time that the White House has made such grandiose blanket statements wrapped in a bow that makes it seem like so much more than it actually is, when it really is such a small achievement while working within and around the boundaries DOMA and not challenging DOMA itself.

In June 2010 the Obama administration made a big announcement about extending federal benefits to gay employee’s.  But these benefits which included which  same-sex partners to use the government’s long-term-care insurance (NOT Health Insurance) and a few other fringe benefits help a minuscule portion of LGBT population) and again this was just a work around to DOMA not a challenge. 

ENDA,  the Domestic Partners and Benefits Act, and the repeal of DOMA sit DEAD in the water.  Even the DADT repeal became a major issue and extremely watered down because it was pressed back until right before the 2010 midterm elections and not pressing forward with it after the 2008 elections

Passing any those would have been a major accomplishment.  What we’ve gotten so far are nothing more than crumbs packed up in pretty press releases.

I more than anyone understand that we don;t really have much of a choice in 2012 unfortunately.  It will be Obama or one of the GOP candidates who want to keep us even more oppressed and push us back into obscurity. What I like to call the “lesser of two evils vote”   But please Obama and the Democratic party DO NOT insult my intelligence by making it seem that you’ve accomplished so much than you actually have done and that we all should be so grateful for the tiny and miniscule increments of Equality you have given us especially after what you had promised us in the first place.

Keep your promises and cut the bullshit.  Because you really need to remember that the losses you incurred were not only due to Tea Party involvement.  The a lack of turnout by Democrats sick of your spineless ways and inabilty to lead and keep your promises was a major factor also.


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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1 thought on “Smoke & Mirrors: Obama Isn’t Really Extending Medicaid To Gay Couples, So Don’t Buy The Hype”

  1. Well said. Obama has a history of promising things that he only half delivers. It makes a good headline until you read the story.

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