Originally published on Advocate.com April 16 2004 12:00 AM ET
Tony Perkins, president of the antigay Family Research Council, was quoted in Wednesday's edition of USA Today as saying that legalizing same-sex marriage and mandating health insurance coverage for gay spouses will cause health care premiums to skyrocket for all Americans. Perkins expanded on his comments in a posting on the FRC Web site on Wednesday, saying that covering gay spouses and their "high-risk health behaviors" will cause annual health insurance premiums for all Americans to rise $300-$500. Perkins doesn't state where he obtained that figure or specifically where he found other data he cites showing that health expenditures for same-sex couples are 17.1% higher than for heterosexual couples, saying only that the information comes from "one California health care plan that services 700,000 members."
Perkins's online letter also claims that care for HIV-positive gay men will create a health care crisis. He claims that care for "a single HIV/AIDS patient" runs $10,000-$12,000 per year. Perkins also predicts that the recent 400% price hike on the HIV protease inhibitor Norvir from $1,500 to $7,200 per year will contribute to rising health care premiums for all insured Americans. But he fails to note that HIV is on the rise among heterosexuals in the United States and that the vast majority of AIDS patients worldwide are straight. A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Advocate.com that about 35% of HIV transmissions reported from 1999 to 2002 in 29 states with long-term HIV tracking programs were due to unprotected heterosexual sex.
"The closer we move toward legalizing same-sex 'marriage' and mandating coverage for homosexuals, the less access the elderly will have to health care and the more American families will be forced to forgo coverage altogether to join the more than 40 million Americans who currently have no health care coverage," according to Perkins's post.