Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sexual Orientation in Health Care Bill

In a recent blog entry, John Stossel and his mustache point to interesting provisions in the Senate health care bill:
"The Senate bill would award billions of dollars to schools that train medical-service providers.

'(P)riority' for federal dollars is to be given only to those institutions offering 'preferential' admissions to underrepresented minorities (according to race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, and religion, depending on which section of the bill you look at)."
(Parenthetical in original, emphasis added). As a libertarian advocate, Stossel uses this provision to decry what he sees as "Legal Discrimination."

In Lawffice Space, an objective employment law blog, I'm using this provision for another reason: to highlight the inclusion of sexual orientation as foreshadowing passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would generally prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (and possibly gender identity, but that's another matter).

Admittedly, the health care legislation is thousands of pages and you can only read so much in to some minor provisions buried in there. I do think, however, it's noteworthy to see legislators lumping in sexual orientation with the Title VII-protected classes.