An Open Letter From a Survivor
I will not remain silent.
As I sat in my chair skimming facebook a couple of nights ago I ran across a post a family member had made sharing an article titled:
I will be the first to tell you that I don’t typically share political articles or posts because quite frankly, there is enough of that cluttering my social media feed lately and I honeslty have not educated myself enough on many of the issues to speak to them intelligently. Nor do I have the time with a full time job and 3 little kids to wade through it all and investigate every upsetting post, article, and comment to find out what is factual and what is not. But I got sucked in… curious, I read the article.
The article states, “The bill itself says that pre-existing conditions are pre-existing conditions. Nowhere does it give a list of pre-existing conditions including “rape” or “sexual assault,” because these are activities leading to injury, not actual injuries. Events are not “pre-existing conditions.” Injuries that occur as a result of events, if they occur before you attempt to buy insurance, are definitionally pre-existing conditions. Duh. But the debate has now been so skewed that we think the government can magically have health insurance cover rape – which doesn’t even make sense. If no injury occurred requiring medical attention due to a rape, what would the insurance company do to cover it? Pray? Hunt down rapists?”
At this point I could feel the heat in my face. I was angry. I was sick to my stomach. The pure ignorance in that last statement and the overall lack of compassion physically made me ill.
The article likens rape and domestic violence to car crashes and soccer injuries.
We aren’t asking insurance companies to “hunt down rapists” we are asking them to cover the health care required to help put the victims of such horrible crimes back together.
Medical attention isn’t just for physical injuries! Injuries from traumatic events such as rape or in my case, domestic abuse aren’t always physical.
Let me clarify, I was never denied coverage. I was able to obtain insurance through my employer and wasn’t penalized for my abusive marriage. But through a different employer or living in a different state? Would I have had the help I needed?
Prior to ObamaCare, in eight states plus the District of Columbia, getting beaten up by your spouse was 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.
I no longer consider myself a victim of domestic violence. I am a survivor. I survived because I found the strength and courage to leave. I survived because of the resources made available to me through my employer and my health insurance. I survied only AFTER I left my abusive marriage and became self sufficient, when my new insurance through my new employer partially covered the counseling both my young son and I desperately needed. “Medical/Health Care” coverage for our “pre-existing” condition. As a single mother starting out with nothing and making a decent salary I didn’t qualify for any kind of assistance. My private insurance through my employer offered a life line. A life line that could now be severed for any other woman in my position. Could someone else in a similar situation be afforded the same opportunity I was given? under this revision, possibly not.
Did you know that every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten? Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
How will these women survive if we continue to victimize the victims?
It didn’t happen to you. It doesn’t personally affect you. Or does it? Chances are that someone you know, someone you love, or someone you care about won’t get the help or care they need.
I know ObamaCare wasn’t perfect. But stripping healthcare from the most vulnerable is not the answer to what is currently “broken”.
Denials of benefits or coverage based on a preexisting condition make adequate health insurance unavailable to millions of Americans. Before the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, in 45 States, health insurance issuers in the individual market could deny coverage, charge higher premiums, and/or deny benefits for a pre-existing condition.
House Republicans voted Thursday to pass the American Health Care Act – their answer to ObamaCare. In a provision that helped the bill pass the House, the new version would let states get a waiver so insurers can set higher premiums for those with pre-existing conditions. This particular change will lead to higher costs for the most vulnerable patients.
Domestic violence has touched me on a personal level but there are far more people who will be impacted by this change if the bill passes this way through the Senate.
I beg you to educate yourselves. And I implore you to speak up.
I just did.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Or, online go to DomesticShelters.org