WaPo Just Threw Rape Victims Under a Bus
For reasons that elude me, the goddamned liberal media spent yesterday walking back claims that the AHCA, narrowly passed by House Republicans, would classify sexual assault as a pre-existing condition. This piece by WaPo is really disturbing, because the justification they use to support the lede just doesn’t add up.
Washington Post: Despite critics’ claims, the GOP health bill doesn’t classify rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition
There were multiple cases of rape victims being denied coverage by their insurance companies prior to the enactment of the ACA. One case in particular, which was mentioned in WaPo’s article, was the case of Christina Turner, who contracted HIV after she was raped by two men, and was denied coverage for HIV treatment by her insurer in 2010, just before the ACA was passed.
The ACA was designed to make the mile-long, contrived list of bullshit pre-existing conditions, which included rape, obsolete. That Republicans have chosen to bring this barbaric policy back is absurd on its own, but by offering no protection for victims of rape, they have ensured that harm against survivors is inevitable.
At least 45 states have laws prohibiting health insurance companies from using a woman’s status as a domestic violence survivor to deny coverage, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
“Domestic violence” is not always interchangeable with sexual assault, including rape. All but two states (Idaho and Vermont) enacted key provisions of a 1999 model legislation by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to ban insurers from discriminating against sexual abuse survivors, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association for 1,300 health insurance companies. The organization, which said AHCA “needs important improvements,” said: “Our perspective is that of course survivors of domestic abuse and rape should be covered.”
Bottom line: Almost all states (at least 45 to 48) have their own laws protecting survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Even if AHCA became law as currently written, state law still determines what can and cannot be used for rating, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
In other words, WaPo sends their thoughts and prayers to victims of rape who don’t live in a state that has banned this policy. Good luck, and don’t get raped, lest you have to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
Here’s what really confuses me. Why cite a policy model from 1999 that was already in effect in 2010 when Christina Turner was denied coverage? This policy model clearly didn’t prevent it from happening. It’s already a given that insurance companies will screw their customers out of coverage whenever they can, and reward the executives who bankrupt sick people with giant bonuses. States like Idaho and Vermont that still don’t have these protections become vulnerable to abuse by insurance companies if this bill is enacted.
The ACA provided a measure to prevent insurers from denying anyone coverage for a pre-existing condition. That provision made it unnecessary for insurers to come up with new and more sociopathic ways to fuck people over. This is why pre-existing conditions should have never been part of the ACA reform in the first place. But by omitting protections for victims of rape, they are dialing us back to a time when the precedent was set for denying coverage to rape victims, and thereby sanctioning its return. Don’t let your congressperson off the hook for this.