The SEIU website makes an astonishing
But, in DC and nine other states, including Arkansas,
Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, insurance companies have gone too
far, claiming that “domestic violence victim” is also a pre-existing
Words cannot describe the sheer inhumanity of this claim. It serves as
yet further proof that our insurance system is broken, destroyed by the
profit-mongering of the very companies who’s sole purpose should be to
provide Americans with access to care when they need it most.
This seems too evil to even be true. So I tracked down the
references. After all, I want the debate to be honest. Even
if there are assertions that support the conclusion I prefer, I want
those assertions to be true. There is enough misinformation
flying around on one side of the debate. The last thing we need
is for both sides to be spreading lies.
SEIU does not provide a link to anything that supports the claim
directly. They do, however, link to a US Dept. of Health and
Human Services page, Rural Health
Response to Domestic Violence: Policy and Practice Issues.
This is worth reading, or at least skimming, if you are at all
interested in the topic of domestic violence. But is does not
provide direct evidence to substantiate the claim. They also link
to a Healthreform.gov
site, which has a citation for a publication be the National Women’s
Law Center, Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance
Market Fails Women, 2008. They don’t provide a link, but it
is easy to find. The report (a PDF file) is here.
The NWLC report does not say that health insurance companies
consider domestic violence to be a pre-existing condition. What
it says is this:
Insurance companies can reject applicants for health
coverage for a variety of reasons that are particularly relevant to
women. For example, it is still legal in nine states and D.C. for
insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence.
Insurers can also reject women for coverage simply for having
previously had a Cesarean section (C-section).
So it is not quite as SEIU says, in that they do not literally consider
domestic violence to be a pre-existing condition. But in some
cases, they will not provide coverage to individuals who have been
victims of domestic violence. I’m not sure that this rises to the
level of “sheer inhumanity,” but is evil. The NWLC report
provides numerous other examples of this kind of evil, most of it
pertaining specifically to women.
This kind of thing is important to notice. It shows us what we
are dealing with, when we try to engage in reasoned discourse. We
cannot assume that health insurance companies will generally do the
right thing. We cannot assume that they will shape up, once they
are called to account. No, they will no do those things.
What they will do, is to continuously seek out and exploit loopholes,
subvert governmental and regulatory bodies, and otherwise game the
system. We can enact reforms to close the loopholes, we can elect
officials who won’t be subverted, and we can bring an end to each
tactic they use to game the system. But this will be a
neverending cycle of reacting to problems after they occur.
Not only that, but the health insurance landscape is changing
rapidly. So we find a way to insure 30 million of the ~47 million
who do not have insurance, this year. But that 47 million figure
could double in the next few years. Even though we thought we
were getting ahead, we’d find ourselves further behind. Do we
really want to go through this agonizing reform process again, in a few
years? No, we do not. The debate has been good for
lobbyists, bad for everyone else.
This illustrates why incremental, partial reforms are not going to