Thursday, September 17, 2009

WTF? Domestic violence is a pre-existing condition?

I'm not going to delve into the national health care debate. I have some very strong viewpoints on that issue, and I'm sure you do, too, and they may not be the same view. I'll let the townhalls, talking heads, and tea parties tackle that.

No. This blog is not meant to be partisan or political. We don't want to create a firestorm. But from time to time, we do take up a cause.

The other night, Mr. Brice and I went to a reception in the gorgeous, newly-named Kennedy Caucus Room in the Senate. The main speaker was David Gergen, who, as always, was articulate and brilliant. Dana Bash and John King were in the audience, and also shared some extemporaneous thoughts. It was a really thought-provoking evening.

When I got home, I turned on MSNBC. The Rachel Maddow Show was on, and she was talking about an issue I'd never heard of before. I was shocked. It just turned my stomach, and I almost didn't believe it.

So like any good 21st century citizen, I Googled.

In DC and eight other states (Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming), it is legal for an insurance company to deny a battered woman health insurance coverage. Their argument is that domestic violence a pre-existing condition. If you're a battered woman, you're more likely to end up in the emergency room, and thus you are deemed "high risk" because of your medical condition.

Like I said, I'm not going to jump into the health care debate and I'm sure as heck not going to debate the pre-existing condition issue. But WTF?

Maria Tchijov of the Service Employees International Union blog ( put it plainly:
Words cannot describe the sheer inhumanity of this claim.

I don't consider this a political or partisan issue. This is a human issue. Way to make the victim a victim a seond time. First, she's abused at the hands of her partner. Then when she seeks medical treatment for her injuries, she's forced to pay for the treatment on her own.

Anyway, I'll let Joanne Bamberger, founder of the PunditMom political blog, and contributor to the Huffington Post take it from here. You can read her heartfelt and powerful words here:

And to think, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act this week, too.

This whole issue just sickens me. Have we really lost our humanity?


  1. This is horrific, and COMPLETELY unacceptable. We must work together to end this!! Do you think contacting our representatives would help???

  2. Jennifer Russell10:54 AM

    That is unreal! How is that even possible? It truly is a sad comment on modern society. . .

  3. I'm seriously at a loss for words. Absolutely unacceptable.

  4. That's the most disgusting, insane thing I've heard in a long time! I don't even know what to say.

  5. For a lot of the victims, it isn't going to be an issue, because they didn't have health insurance to begin with, and aren't political enough to be aware of the laws to be insulted.

  6. It's just actuaries crunching numbers, and from what I've read, the numbers probably say that if a woman is ever in a serious relationship that's abusive, she's statistically much more like to do so again, and often repeatedly.

    It's up to us as a society (through lobbying, protests, or our representatives) to say when we think certain statistical likelihoods used as such by insurance companies lead to discrimination, unfairness, or cruelty... Which we as a society have done in the past (it's my understanding that now car insurance won't give someone higher rates due to their race) and, apparently, are doing now with this issue.

    Anyway, that's just the way I see it...

  7. So really, even though NOBODY ever thinks of it, anyone who is a health nut should be denied all claims for injuries that happen while:
    working out
    participating in sports

    Being a sports nut was a pre-existing condition, and athletes are much more prone to injury than almost any group. A torn tendon should not be covered if the patient is an athlete because he or she was an athlete before they tore the tendon.

    Just like Sally was a victim of abuse before he punched her in the face on Friday night.


  8. Here in NC anything stupid is possible. Take for instance, my congressperson said the Mathew Shepard case was about robbery. You could contact her but I don't think she can read. (
    The thing I don't get is that there are a million better Christians around here than me that don't see this a moral issue. Someone please explain that to me.

  9. That is a travesty.
    So what can we do to fix it? Ideas?

  10. That is the most stupid, idiotic, asinine, insane thing I've ever heard. It's not their fault their battered, it's the person who's abusing them. Of course, they are more likely to continue being battered if they stay in the situation, but speaking from experience it's not as easy to get out as people seem to think. And denying their insurance claims won't make it any easier. Ugh!!