Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What A Tangled Web Moveon.org Weaves, When They Practice To Deceive

Some time ago, and I still don’t know how, I ended up on Moveon.org’s mailing list. Imagine, as far right-winged radical that many consider me, I receive Moveon.org’s deceitful emails on nearly a daily basis.

Long ago I decided not to remove my name from their list just so I could keep an eye on how easily the left deceives themselves and each other. The email I received today, September 15, 2009 came as no surprise then as I opened it and read the following,

“Dear MoveOn member,

Did you know that some insurance companies actually consider domestic violence a “pre-existing condition”? That is, women whose boyfriends or husbands have beaten them could actually be denied coverage for that reason. (1)

It's sickening. And it's just one more reason we need a public health insurance option-a health care plan that won't put profits before basic human decency.

It's not enough to pass new regulations. Like credit card companies and big banks, health insurance companies will always be looking to find a new loophole.

And while insurance companies rack up profits by denying coverage, their conservative friends in Congress are busy defending them from the competition they'd face from a public plan-and arguing we should give them another chance to clean up their act.”

While regular followers of Moveon.org just accept those claims as truth, never questioning a fellow liberal, I decided to look deeper since Moveon.org supplied links to just who supposedly made these ludicrous claims.

Note ‘1’ is to “Domestic violence is a ‘pre-existing condition’?,” SEIU Blog, September 11, 2009 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=84439&id=17236-9296068-WXTENyx&t=5

Being the good little radical right-winged “ginned-up” brown-shirted mobster I have been often referred to, I got myself all “wee wee’d” up and clicked the link, which took me to the SEIU blogsite and a post supplied by a Maria Tchijov, where I discovered,
“Insurance companies have used the excuse of “pre-existing conditions” to deny coverage to countless Americans. From cancer patients to the elderly suffering from arthritis, these organizations have padded their profit margins by limiting coverage to patients deemed “high risk” because of their medical condition.

But, in DC and eight other states, including Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, insurance companies have gone too far, claiming that “domestic violence victim” is also a pre-existing condition.

The link supplied in the second paragraph of Maria Tchijov’s post leads to Healthreform.gov site and to the post “Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves Millions Behind.”

At the base of the page I read,
“This is an official U.S. Government Web site managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.”

Obama, any one?

Okay, still interested in the claim made by Moveon.org, I scrolled down and found the sentence,
“It is still legal in nine states for insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence, citing the history of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition. (8)”

Clicking on (8), I was taken to the footnote, “8 National Women’s Law Center. Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women, 2008.

Fair enough, they quote a magazine article from 2008. I did a web search through Google and found a pdf copy of the article.

On page 10 of the article, I read,
Rejection: Insurers Refusing to Sell Women Coverage
In most states, insurers are free to reject individuals applying for coverage in the individual market. Many women face such rejection at this underwriting stage of purchasing insurance for a wide range of reasons. For example, women have greater health needs than men and are more likely than men to suffer from a chronic condition requiring ongoing treatment, like asthma or arthritis.19 These conditions can lead to rejection of coverage. In addition, if during the medical underwriting process the insurer discovers that an applicant underwent a past C-section, the company may charge her a higher premium, impose an exclusionary period during which it refuses to cover another C-section or pregnancy, or even reject her for coverage altogether unless she has been sterilized or is no longer of childbearing age. 20 Insurers in D.C. and the following nine states are allowed to deny coverage to domestic violence survivors: Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. 21” (Emphasis added)

Okay, there is the claim again with footnote ’21” which leads to,
“Women’s Law Project & Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, FYI: Insurance Discrimination Against Victims of Domestic Violence, 2002 Supplement 2 (2002), http://www.womenslawproject.org/brochures/InsuranceSup_DV2002.pdf. In the early 1990s, advocates discovered that insurers had denied applications for coverage submitted by women who had experienced domestic violence. See, e.g., 142 Cong. Rec. E1013-03, at E1013-14 (June 5, 1996) (statement of Rep. Pomeroy) (“the Pennsylvania State Insurance Commissioner surveyed company practices in Pennsylvania and found that 26% of the respondents acknowledged that they considered domestic violence a factor in issuing health, life and accident insurance”). Since 1994, the majority of states have adopted legislation prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage based on domestic violence, but nine states and D.C. offer no such protection to survivors of domestic violence. Even though Vermont lacks legislation specifically prohibiting discrimination against domestic violence survivors, the state requires guaranteed issue of all individual insurance plans.”

Clicking the link supplied in the footnote took me to a brochure published in 2002, “FYI: Insurance Discrimination Against Victims of Domestic Violence,” which supplied the experience of 3 battered women escaping their batterers and listing one who had trouble obtaining car insurance due to her having legally changed her Social Security Number and not wanting to supply it to the insurance company who would then check her driving record, as everybody has to do to obtain car insurance.

Another who had problems obtaining a property damage settlement over her abusive husband setting their house on fire and another who also had trouble obtaining a settlement over her house being burned down by an abusive male.

In both of the latter cases, after negative publicity in newspapers, both were paid the claims.

Further into the brochure I found information listing Federal Legislative Activity designed to end any discrimination on insurance coverage against battered women. Listed there is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the “Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.”

The act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa). The third lawmaker associated with the bill was Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R-Virginia).

While the Women’s Law Project brochure claims,
“This act applies to the financial services industry and permits banks to sell insurance subject to state regulation. It also includes a prohibition against domestic violence discrimination among its consumer protections. Based upon insurer treatment of domestic violence victims, this law prohibits banks from considering status as a victim of domestic violence or as a provider of services to victims of domestic violence as a criterion in insurance underwriting, pricing, renewal, scope of coverage or payment of claims. It applies to health and life insurance only,”
Barack Obama today believes that the Act directly helped cause the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis. But that is another subject unrelated to Moveon.org’s claim of “some insurance companies actually consider domestic violence a ‘pre-existing condition’.”

What I do see is a very intricate web of deceit through several different websites arriving back at examples of car insurance and property claims being denied.

Even though the states listed may, and I emphasis may, have not have passed a state law directly prohibiting insurance companies from denying health insurance to victims of domestic violence, does not the provision written into the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act by the three Republicans that submitted it preclude them from actually denying health insurance?

Also in Moveon.org’s email I read,
“We’ve all heard the tragic stories about how health insurance companies use the ‘pre-existing conditions’ rule to deny coverage to people suffering from chronic disease.

But extending it to domestic violence victims is simply beyond the pale-and it’s perfectly legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. In fact, one survey found that 8 of the 16 largest insurers in the country have used domestic violence as a factor in denying coverage.

These outrages won’t end until we force private insurance companies to compete with a high-quality, affordable public plan that’ll keep them honest.

Seeing how the steps have been taken to arrive at this tearful insinuation of abused women being denied any medical coverage or care, perhaps it is Moveon.org who needs to be “kept honest” or just ignored.

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