The XX Factor

Domestic Violence Is a Pre-Existing Condition

One knows all’s fair in love and war-unless you toss health care into the mix. Under the prevailing practices of American health insurers, getting punched by a lover makes you a liability. Ryan Grim has the details :

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.

In human terms, it’s a second punishment for a victim of domestic violence.

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.

It’s appalling to see any opposition to this common-sense reform-especially the same week as the 15th anniversary of Joe Biden’s Violence Against Women Act.

Here, the sexism is obvious, but it also heralds the fundamental unfairness of restricting individuals based on pre-existing conditions-and a big part of why the reform debate is not solely over a “public option” to hold profiteering companies accountable. President Obama has made it a priority to break down the system of repeatedly denying coverage to Americans, based on both trivialities like acne-as with the woman he mentioned in his Congressional address last week-and deadly serious issues such as domestic violence.

Over at TAPPED, Dana Goldstein also adds a crucial bit of info :

[I]t’s important to point out that insurance company discrimination against domestic violence victims applies regardless of whether the woman is still married to or living with the abuser. In other words, women who have successfully left an abusive relationship and turned their lives around continue to be punished for a crime that was committed against them .

Right. I’ll hold my breath for the news of men denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, like impotence, that actually have something to do with human physiology.