September 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Baldwin introduces LGBT health care data bill

The only out lesbian in Congress on Tuesday introduced in the U.S. House legislation that would allow the Department of Health & Human Services to collect health data on the LGBT population.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-Wis.) legislation, known as the the Health Data Collection Improvement Act, would allow HHS to collect voluntary data on sexual orientation and gender identity in department-supported programs and surveys, according to a statement from Baldwin’s office.

“Currently, the federal government does not collect any information about the health and well-being of LGBT Americans,” Baldwin said in a statement.  “Consequently, our knowledge of the health of the LGBT community is drastically insufficient and our current health care system fails LGBT individuals on many levels.”

Baldwin added that ample ancedotal evidence exists on LGBT health disparities, but said “only valid research data will allow us to take critical steps toward improving the health of LGBT Americans and their families.”

The legislation is similar to a provision in the House version of the health care reform bill. However, the language wasn’t present in the Senate version of the legislation or the sidecar package that became law.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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