Last week, the U. Supreme Court handed down a number of important decisions, the most impactful of which will likely be the case of King v. However, another that might have an impact for health insurers across the country is the decision for Obergefell v. Hodges, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. While that landmark decision will prove important to millions of Americans both now and in the future , the more immediate impact might end up being a net negative in the short term, according to a report from CBS News.
Experts say stress and lack of healthcare causes more heart disease, high blood pressure, and other ailments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. But the LGBT community also experiences higher rates of other less visible health issues, like high blood pressure and earlier onset of disabilities, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation Research report. These stresses can occur on many fronts, such as hearing about constant LGBT legal battles, workplace discrimination, or being denied healthcare. Another study of over 68, American adults found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults drank and smoked more heavily than heterosexual adults. Stress and anxiety are indeed linked to poor health outcomes, Carrie Henning-Smith, a research associate at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and who also co-authored the report, told Healthline.
After voters in many states rushed to ban same-sex unions, the tide turned. In recent years, sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage and another three states have approved civil unions or domestic partnerships that include full spousal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual couples. This is unfortunate for moral and economic reasons. Equally important, a growing body of public health research documents the many health benefits associated with legal same-sex marriage. Harm from Discrimination and Marriage Bans Numerous health studies conducted during the past decade have documented how discrimination causes harm and leads to significant health disparities.
Vanderbilt researchers have documented evidence that legalizing same-sex marriage has improved access to health care for gay men in a study released as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper this week. This is one of the first studies to examine the effect legal marriage has on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender LGBT individuals. Carpenter and his colleagues in the departments of economics and medicine, health and society at Vanderbilt University and the department of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine analyzed 16 years of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a database of information about United States residents' health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.