Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Domestic Violence: A Pre-existing Condition

Last fall, National Women's Law Center in Washington D.C. stated in its report named "Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women", that in total of nine US states, it is perfectly legal for insurance companies to deny insurance to survivors of domestic violence.

The nine US states are:  Arkansas, District of Columbia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The aforementioned report studied the differences in premiums charged to male versus female applicants, among other gender-related insurer policies.

The Service Employees International Union, stated on its blog:

"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 [whose] sole purpose should be to provide Americans with access to care when they need it most. In 1994, an informal survey conducted by the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that 8 of the 16 largest insurers in the country used domestic violence as a factor when deciding whether to extend coverage and how much to charge if coverage was extended."

Source: Institute of Southern Studies article


In my (admittedly liberal) mind, the above is tantamount to crimes against humanity.

Indeed, it is unfathomable why would such a proud nation allow for something like this to take place. Have the free market principles robbed us of humanity?

I hope that the U.S. health care reform will take place as soon as possible - it is more than overdue.  I also hope that even those that are against President Obama's Health Care Proposal will continue the quest for health care reform.  Something needs to be done. It seems to be the case that the health and well-being of American citizens cannot be in hands of totally unregulated for-profit private insurance companies.  I hope that much most of us can all agree on.

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