Wendy Davis: The gay interview



DAVID TAFFET  | Staff Writer | Dallas Voice | June 13, 2014

In her first interview with the gay press, state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democrat nominee for governor, affirmed her support for marriage equality, employment and housing nondiscrimination, and said she would like to strengthen the bullying bill she shepherded through the Senate Education Committee.

Connecting with the LGBT community is a priority for the Davis campaign, but some have criticized her avoiding gay issues, even when addressing LGBT groups. During the campaign, she has attended a number of events with the LGBT community and fundraisers thrown by community members. She mentioned Black Tie Dinner, in particular. “What a special night that was,” she said. But despite a spirited reception from the audience, during her brief address to one of the largest fundraisers in the nation for LGBT groups, Davis neglected to use the term “gay,” “LGBT,” “marriage equality” and the like. Similar omissions were noted when she spoke at several high-dollar private fundraisers.

And while she hasn’t been silent on gay issues — Davis called on Abbott to stop defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage during her endorsement interview with the San Antonio Express-News in February — she hasn’t addressed that issue directly with her LGBT audiences. When her campaign contacted Dallas Voice about her first one-on-one interview with a gay media outlet, they said Pride month was a good time to do that, and that Davis wanted to make her positions clear on a number of issues affecting the LGBT community.

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Sen. Edward Markey Proposes Making Gay Rights A Foreign Policy Priority

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | June 13, 2014

Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey on Friday introduced legislation which would make LGBT rights a foreign policy priority for the United States.

Markey, a Democrat, introduced his legislation during a noontime press conference in Boston.

Twenty-four Senators have signed on as co-sponsors to Markey’s International Human Rights Defense Act, which if approved would “direct the Department of State to make preventing and responding to discrimination and violence against the LGBT community a foreign policy priority and devise a global strategy to achieve those goals [by] establishing a position in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor responsible for coordinating that effort.”

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National Policy Office Washington, DC: 202-835-8373

Program and Administrative Office – Tampa, FL: 813-258-5929

For Immediate Release: 6.13.14 

Media Contact:  Carl Schmid: (202) 669-8267 cschmid@theaidsinstitute.org


Study Demonstrates Some Plans Put Every HIV Drug on Highest Tier, Stick Beneficiaries with Costs  

Washington, DC – A study released this week conducted by Avalere Health offers growing evidence that certain plans offered through the marketplace are discriminating against people with HIV/AIDS and other health conditions by placing every drug in certain classes, including generics, on the highest tier and charging beneficiaries exorbitant amounts in cost-sharing.

In an analysis of 123 plans from all states, Avalere found that of the four classes of HIV drugs, between 27% and 39% of the plans placed every HIV drug, including generics, on the highest tiers, where patients are charged 30% or more in co-insurance.  Of those plans, most are charging patients more than 40% co-insurance. [See graphic.]

“We want the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to work, and we want it to work for people living with HIV/AIDS and others with chronic health conditions,” said Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive, The AIDS Institute. “But shifting the cost of medications to the patients is not only blatant discrimination but can lead to poorer health outcomes, since beneficiaries will not be able to afford and access their life-saving medications.”

Recently The AIDS Institute, along with the National Health Law Program, filed a discrimination complaint against four plans in Florida for placing every HIV drug, including generics, on the highest tiers.  The Avalere analysis demonstrates that this practice is happening across the country and not only impacts HIV drugs, but other classes of medications that are important to maintaining the health of so many others.

“Plans can’t shift all the medication costs to beneficiaries,” added Michael Ruppal, Executive Director, The AIDS Institute.  “We are hearing stories from all over the country of patients who are shocked by their high drug costs when they pick up their medications.  They had no idea what their costs would be because the plans merely state it will be a certain percentage. They have no idea that a 50% co-insurance could translate into over $1,000.”

The AIDS Institute is recommending the Obama Administration take the following actions to address these growing concerns: 1) Review plans and enforce the ACA non-discrimination protections in order to weed out the bad plans; 2) Limit patient cost-sharing for medications to nominal amounts such as $10, $20, or $50 per drug, consistent with typical  employer-based and marketplace plans; and 3) Require plans  to disclose clearly and fully the  medication costs for patients, detailing real amounts the patient is expected to pay, rather than hiding these cost burdens with percentages.

Schmid concluded, “We want the ACA to work, but we have identified some serious issues as it relates to accessing medications.  Given the importance of prescription drugs in securing better health outcomes, we trust they will be addressed.”
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The AIDS Institute is a national nonprofit organization that promotes action for social change through research, public policy,  advocacy, and education.


For more information and to become involved, visit www.TheAIDSInstitute.org or write to us at Info@theaidsinstitute.org, and follow The AIDS Institute on Twitter @AIDSAdvocacy and Facebook at www.facebook.com/The-AIDS-Institute.

VICTORY: Federal Government Clarifies Policy on Transition-Related Surgeries in Government Employee Health Insurances


Mark Daley
Director of Communications
(Office) 202.639.6325
(Cell) 202.379.8318

VICTORY: Federal Government Clarifies Policy on Transition-Related Surgeries in Government Employee Health Insurances

WASHINGTON, DC, Jun 13, 2014: According to reliable news reports, the federal government is clarifying the policy on transition-related surgeries contained in federal employee insurances.

“Today’s decision to affirmatively allow health insurers to offer plans to the United States federal government, the nation¹s largest employer, that cover the full range of transition-related care that transgender people need is yet another victory in the struggle for full health care access and equality for transgender people.”

The Task Force has been a leader in working to remove transition-related care exclusions from health insurance plans everywhere they are found ­whether they are in federal health insurance plans offered to federal employees, Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, or health insurance plans sold through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

“Today we see the fruits of our labor — the federal government has clarified for insurers that the health insurance plans they offer to federal employees are not required to exclude transition-related care. This affirms what the medical community has long stood behind; indeed every major medical association has gone on the record in support of fully-inclusive health insurance options for transgender people, because no health insurance company should get to decide whether a transgender person has access to the medical care their doctor prescribes. We commend the Obama administration for standing on the right side of history, and look forward to the day when every health insurance plan in America is affirmatively required to offer the full range of medical care transgender people need.”

Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force


To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,
visit and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

Gay marriage dividing Republicans

Erica Holloway | BlogHer | San Diego | June 10, 2014

The newly-adopted Texas Republican Party platform stirred up a national debate over the discredited “reparative therapy” for gays, arguably setting the stage for pro-marriage equality Republican activists to force change as concerns resurface that the party’s own actions further stymie relevance and growth.

Marriage equality promises to be a forefront watershed issue for the Republican Party in the lead up to the 2016 Presidential Election.

It’s disconcerting news as the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry launch a $1 million national campaign to drop gay marriage opposition in early voting states for the 2016 Presidential Election and advocating to instead adopt statements celebrating the value of marriage as a “fundamental, personal freedom.”

“We are absolutely working in every way we can to show America is ready for the freedom to marry, and that includes, increasingly, Republicans,” said Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson to The Wall Street Journal. To read the full BlogHer blog posting by Erica Holloway, click HERE.

She credits Republican candidates such as Carl DeMaio of San Diego for helping to reshape the debate on gay marriage by running an ad showing him holding hands with his partner, Johnathan Hale.

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The 37 Senators Who Voted for Millionaires Over Students

Derek Pugh | Campaign For America’s Future | Reader Supported News | June 13, 2014

On Wednesday, June 11, Senate Republicans sided with 22,000 millionaires over 40 million Americans with student debt by blocking the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.

The 56-38 vote fell shy of the 60 needed to prevent the bill, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), from being filibustered. The bill would have allowed existing student loan borrowers the chance to refinance their debt at today’s lower interest rates and would be fully paid for by enacting the “Buffet rule,” which ensures billionaires and millionaires pay their fair share of taxes.

Refinancing student loans is common sense. Homeowners, businesses, and even local governments are able to refinance their debts, yet graduates are being penalized for simply getting an education and a fighting chance at entering the middle class. There is no economic argument against the bill, either. Refinancing would help stimulate the economy by putting $62.9 billion back into the pockets of the millions struggling with student debt who need it the most.

“With this vote we show the American people who we work for in the United States Senate: billionaires or students,” said Warren. “A vote on this legislation is a vote to give millions of young people a fair shot at building their future.”

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Tehran Willing to Work With US Over Iraq Crisis

Reuters | Reader Support News | June 13, 2014

SEE ALSO: Shiite Militias Rally to Fight Rebels

Iran may be willing to cooperate with America over the ISIS uprising in Iraq, according to an Iranian official

hia Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.

Officials say Iran will send its neighbour advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say.

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