AHCA: Is rape really a pre-existing condition or does Washington Post know what “analysis” means?

One of the many claims to come out of the #AHCA bill that passed the House this past week is that rape will be considered a pre-existing condition and will no longer be covered. Women’s organizations (and others; rape is not a sexually discriminatory evil) have been chagrined and have been protesting this vociferously. Therefore, for anyone who wants to jump into the argument, a little caution would be advised. And you would think that Washington Post would exercise the same or higher levels of caution. Instead, they went on an incredible trip to try and show that they are nonpartisan and focused on facts. The result is they come across as a weak newspaper, ready to suspend intellect just to accomplish an end. Let us take a closer look. The very beginning is not auspicious:

Yet the reality is very complicated, and a highly unlikely cascade of changes in federal and state law need to happen before a woman is denied insurance solely because she was raped or sexually assaulted. Let’s dig in.

Right. Even if we agree that something needs a “highly unlikely cascade of changes”, we do not need to agree that those changes are impossible. After all, just look at the times we live in.

After stating this, the author of said analysis should have said, “Okay, this is beyond me. I should stop and write about the local farmer’s market and when organic corn will be available”:

The revised GOP plan included an amendment crafted by Rep. Tom McArthur (R-N.J.), which helped the plan attract votes that led to its passage. The amendment allowed states to seek waivers from a “continuous coverage” provision that otherwise would boost insurance rates by 30 percent for one year if a person has a lapse in insurance coverage for more than two months.

Instead, if the state met certain conditions, insurance companies for one year could consider a person’s health status when writing policies in the individual market. Another possible waiver would allow the state to replace a federal essential benefits package with a more narrowly tailored package of benefits, limited to the individual and small-group markets.

That is precisely the problem with the AHCA amendment:

  1. Waivers can be sought. Why do you think States that clearly want to cut off insurance access, and absolutely want to force rape victims to bear any children (we are talking of rape victims who are women, in this case) will just wait around and NOT seek the waivers?
  2. Essentially, one of the waivers allows them to “narrowly tailor benefits”. Essentially, no abortion coverage (which is flaky anyway), definitely no Plan B contraception, or HIV Medication are all possibilities.
  3. Essentially, the two-month “lapse” is the killer, and I will give you an example. Let us say someone gets raped and physically abused so badly, they stay in Intensive Care for a solid couple of months. These things, VERY UNFORTUNATELY, do happen. They slip on their payments. Lo! The State and the Insurer can now essentially change the patient’s coverage. Which way the coverage will go is really not a mystery, unless, I suppose you work for Washington Post.

The most egregious quote in this vile, misguided “analysis” ensues:

The AHCA does not specifically address or classify rape or sexual assault as a pre-existing condition. It also would not deny coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing condition.

The entire premise of the above-stated McArthur amendment WAS to gain the votes of House members who specifically wanted to see the pre-existing condition coverage gutted. Formerly, I thought it would take an enormous amount of ignorance and uneducatability to fail to see this. I don’t think so any more, given the evidence presented above.

What I don’t understand, and apparently, many of those commenting don’t either, is how can someone say one thing and then try to peg the opposite interpretation to what they JUST said:

States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services would decide how to interpret “health status.” State waivers must be approved by the federal government. Opponents of AHCA say that because “health status” is up for interpretation, there is no control in the bill to prevent rising costs for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Exactly what do you think would motivate a Federal Government to give itself pause from rubber-stamping State Government Waiver requests when they are of the same party and their interests are aligned? Does this ever happen?

And yes, opponent or not, “health status” HAS been opened up for State interpretation. Given recent egregious comments coming out of places like Oklahoma (the latest in a long string of such comments), it is extremely foolish to think that rape victims will receive the same protections as before, should AHCA become law.

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.

When you want to look at the moon and see a wolf, all you have to do is “visualize”. So, just before this quote, the brilliant author of said analysis, says virtually every state, without realizing that to begin with, 10% of the States in the US do NOT have this provision in place.

Secondly, how does one fail to see the problem here? Insurance companies and state insurances will not need to “deny” coverage. They can just make your coverage prohibitively expensive. This has precisely been the modus operandi for decades and hence the name AFFORDABLE CARE ACT and NOT Obamacare, as only idiots (and this is the term our storied analyst uses in the gibber-fest by the way) refer to it, when writing formally.

The whole premise of ACA all along has been affordability of insurance, besides its accessibility. It federally bound insurers and states from colluding and letting patients with serious, or politically charged health conditions (or statuses) just fend for themselves or die. And even that wasn’t effective. Religious organizations found themselves able to waive (though coverage came through other means) covering conditions unpleasant to them. This is precisely what AHCA guts. This is why several organizations are opposed to it!

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.

Yes, when it comes to strategic planning for the security of hen houses, consult the FOX! 

Conclusion: The problem here is simple. Several religious organizations and states have a febrile, maniacal desire to cut coverage for rape victims. To simply deny yourself the acknowledgement of this, or to simply build on your inability to understand this, and to then go on and write nonsensical arguments IN THE FACE of links you yourself posted is stupid.

I see a trend with newspapers such as The New York Times, Washington Post etc to desperately appear non-partisan. And it appears, they will just make themselves open to much mockery to get there.

I, for one, am happy that I do NOT subscribe to the Washington Post and this uneducated, unworthy, despicable, ignorant, narrow-minded rant, has made me further my resolve to stay away from the publication.

Remember, men and women, both can be sexual assault victims. We all need to stand in support of the prevention of rape, the elimination of cultural attributes that use religion or any vile argument to make rape sound any less disgusting than it is, and to stand by the unfortunate victims of rape.

References:

  1. The deplorable “analysis”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/05/06/no-the-gop-health-bill-doesnt-classify-rape-or-sexual-assault-as-a-preexisting-condition/?utm_term=.af7d521e09b5#comments
  2. Image courtesy, Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ask-blackboard-chalk-board-chalkboard-356079/