Domestic violence shouldn’t be a ‘pre-existing condition’

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHOULDN’T BE A ‘PRE-EXISTING CONDITION’…. Just when it seemed private health insurers couldn’t appear any less sympathetic, we learn a little more about their coverage practices. Ryan Grim reported this jaw-dropper late yesterday.

With the White House zeroing in on the insurance-industry practice of discriminating against clients based on pre-existing conditions, administration allies are calling attention to how broadly insurers interpret the term to maximize profits.

It turns out that in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, getting beaten up by your spouse is 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.

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

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) launched an effort in 2006 to prohibit the practice, but it failed in committee on a 10-10 vote. All 10 “no” votes came from Republicans.

The Service Employees International Union is lobbying on this issue, and noted yesterday, “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.”