In DC and eight states, health insurance companies can deny coverage to victims of domestic violence because they have a "pre-existing condition."
While that statement alone is gasp-worthy, the story gets even more appalling: this issue had a chance to be ended - once and for all - in the Senate HELP Committee in 2006. At that time, an amendment was introduced to the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2006 that would have forced insurance companies to stop ignoring state laws that provided protection for victims of domestic violence, specifically when it came to denying them insurance coverage.
Ten Republican Senators voted against it, including Senators Alexander, Burr, Ensign, Enzi, Frist, Gregg, Hatch, Isakson, Roberts and Sessions. Sen. Enzi put forth a particularly compassionate argument in support of his vote when he told CQ Today: "If you have no insurance, it doesn't matter what services are mandated by the state."
While the very thought of domestic violence victims being denied health coverage in our own backyard is unbearable, the fact that ten Senators voted against stopping this practice is too much. Over the weekend, hundreds of people took action, telling Congress that we need health insurance reform now. Join them and tell Sen. Enzi, his Republican cohorts and the rest of Congress that women who have survived the trauma of domestic violence should not be forced to worry about the cost of their medical treatment.
And be sure to check out what other bloggers are saying about this deplorable practice: Huffington Post, Pandagon, Feministing, RightsForMothers.com, 40 Years in the Desert, Overanalyze it, and Facing South.