Have You Had A Baby? Been Beaten By Your Spouse? Raped? Enjoy Your New Pre-Existing Conditions!
Today, the House passed a brand new healthcare bill that will result in lots and lots of people losing their health insurance, and lots of those who keep their insurance paying a lot more for it. Fun!
Surely, all the Trump voters included in these groups will at least be comforted to know that they will no longer be traumatized by the horrors of The Thing That Was Somewhat Close To Being Socialized Medicine. Except that they will, because insurance companies are actually a form of small-scale socialism to begin with -- just a very bad and ineffective form of small-scale socialism. There is a lot of confusion about this due to certain people not having any idea how insurance companies work (spreading out, or "socializing" risk!) or what socialism actually even is.
One of the most exciting aspects of this new healthcare bill are the myriad ways in which women get totally fucked, just for being women. Women who fuck, in particular, are the most fucked. Because this new bill will allow insurance companies to once again refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Including the pre-existing condition of being a woman.
Women who have given birth will surely be delighted to know that this bill has made sure that insurers can now charge them up to four times as much -- up to $17,000 a year more -- for health insurance than they would charge a man. The people that made this happen were the fellas of the Republican Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative men who are pretty sure that men have absolutely nothing to do with pregnancy and are thus quite sure that they shouldn't have to share in the cost of it. Pregnancy is an issue between a woman and her stork, obviously.
Had a C-Section? Post-partum depression? Those are pre-existing conditions, missy, and an insurance company can now refuse to cover you if you've had those things. Just like they used to do back in the good ol' days!
Additionally, insurers in some states will even be able to reject you for having been a victim of domestic violence or rape. Which is also a thing that used to happen, and no longer happened due to provisions in the ACA that forbade it.
In 2002, [Jennifer] Neal-Post's husband beat and tried to choke her. Her medical records at the time showed that he grabbed her so hard, there were fingerprints on her neck. The story of the abuse made the newspapers at the time. In 2006, when the Albuquerque lawyer tried to switch insurance plans, she ran into problems.
The insurance application asked for her medical history. She disclosed that she was the victim of a crime, had a severe concussion then and "was strangled momentarily to unconsciousness." She included that she got private counseling through a police department program for abuse survivors and, as part of treatment, was given a six-month prescription for Valium to help her sleep.
"I would see his eyes when I was falling asleep, and I would see him choking me as if I was trying to get away from him again," Neal-Post said. "I couldn't sleep."
The insurance company rejected her application. By law, it didn't have say why, but she says she was otherwise healthy.
Though doing this is illegal in many states, it's not illegal in all states.
Of course, coverage for pre-existing conditions was always going to go. Those of us who knew how insurance companies work explained this many, many times, every time Trump was all "We're gonna get rid of Obamacare, but also still cover pre-existing conditions!" about stuff. He is still saying this now, even though it is objectively not true. Without a mandate, it is literally impossible for insurance companies to be able to cover them. Because if everyone were able to wait until they were dying of cancer to get insurance, the costs would be ridiculous.
On the kinda-sorta-maybe-but-also-UGH bright side, the fact that this whole plan is incredibly horrible, and very expensive for women -- including women who voted for Trump, because there's no provision in the bill to exempt them from the "You Done Got Knocked Up" surcharge -- and thus also men who are married to women, could lead to Republicans being vulnerable in upcoming elections. One can always hope.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse