American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic Medical Profession Supports Access to Health Care for Same-Sex Households

July 22, 2014

(CHICAGO) —The American Osteopathic Association’s House of Delegates approved a policy recognizing that same-sex households need to have access to health insurance and health care, and supporting measures to eliminate discriminatory coverage.

A study in Pediatrics found that children with same-sex parents are less likely to have private health insurance than children with married opposite-sex parents, particularly if they live in states that do not permit legal same-sex marriage and civil unions. Disparities in private health insurance coverage diminish when children live in states with legal same-sex marriage and civil unions.

“All children deserve access to health insurance and health care whether they have same-sex or opposite-sex parents,” says Sonia Rivera-Martinez, DO, a board-certified family physician in Central Islip, New York. “Discrimination of any kind, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identification, should not be tolerated.”

What is a DO?

DOs are licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery, in the United States. They complete approximately four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internship and residency programs typically lasting three to eight years. In addition, DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, providing them with an in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. As one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the nation, the number of DOs has grown more than 200% during the past 25 years.

About the House of Delegates

The AOA’s House of Delegates, comprised of more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents and students from throughout the country, meets annually in July to set organizational policies and elect new officers.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at


Media Contacts:   

Vicki Martinka
(312) 202-8159

Nicole Grady
(312) 202-8038

Twitter: @AOAforMedia


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