Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Domestic violence

In the world of for-profit health insurance, it's a pre-existing condition.

Under the cold logic of the insurance industry, it makes perfect sense: If you are in a marriage with someone who has beaten you in the past, you're more likely to get beaten again than the average person and are therefore more expensive to insure.
And if you're married to someone who has sex with you, you're more likely to become pregnant than the average person, so pregnancy can be considered a pre-existing condition. And if you have a job that sometimes involves danger or hazards, you're more likely than the average person to be injured at work, so your job can be considered a pre-existing condition. And if your lifestyle involves playing sports or riding a bicycle, you're more likely to be injured than the average person, so physical activity can be considered a pre-existing condition. And if you walk down the street, you are more likely to be struck by a car or trip on uneven sidewalk, so walking can be considered a pre-existing condition.

With no government oversight, these amoral, thieving pricks can call anything they want a pre-existing condition, and nobody is going to stop them. And if you do get sick or injured and somehow manage not to have your case classified as a pre-existing condition, they can simply cancel your policy. It's called recission, and it happens every day, usually right after somebody has the nerve to get sick and rack up some serious medical bills.

And, if you're like most people and find the fact that health insurance companies consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition particularly reprehensible, you might be interested in knowing who helped them with this particular cost-saving measure:

In 2006, Democrats tried to end the practice. An amendment introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), now a member of leadership, split the Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee 10-10. The tie meant that the measure failed.

All ten no votes were Republicans, including Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), a member of the "Gang of Six" on the Finance Committee who are hashing out a bipartisan bill. A spokesman for Enzi didn't immediately return a call from Huffington Post.
I think it would be appropriate at this time to stop pointing out which state congresspeople pretend to represent when it's getting clearer every day that they only represent the interests of their largest donors (I doubt very much that the people of Wyoming think it's a good idea to allow health insurers to consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition). Perhaps Sen. Mike Enzi (R-United Healthcare) would be more accurate. It certainly would explain their positions and votes better.

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