Saturday, May 6, 2017

I've been vindicated yet again when it comes to the claim that rape and domestic violence victims won't be denied coverage under the ACHA

Protesters in Washington DC. Washington Post/AP

On Thursday I wrote a post about the fake news flying around that rape and domestic abusers would lose coverage under the new ACHA healthcare law that is set to replace Obamacare. That post can be found here. I got a TON of push back on that post by a few people that claimed I didn't have enough evidence for my claim. Despite the fact that I read the law and posted a link to the MacArthur Amendment. And then provided even more evidence that yes, I was indeed right. 

Despite that, I wasn't believed and the fake news has continued to spread like wildfire. Thankfully, the Washington Post, who have their own political agenda that I rarely agree with, actually backed me up. Their fact checker series of articles put out a new edition and gave the claim four Pinocchio's, which is as strong as that scale goes, only to be used on actual fake news. That article backed up everything I said and actually covered some things that I wasn't aware of that makes the story even less plausible. 

Once gain, the Post article states what I stated as well. Nobody can be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, no matter what. Under some very specific circumstances a state can charge more for plans if and only if they have applied for a waiver, the waiver has been approved after undergoing evaluation that shows it would help and if they have set up a high risk pool. And the higher fees, which would be subsidized by the federal and state governments, would only be charged to new applicants and those who have been without health coverage for 63 days. Nobody with insurance now would be affected as long as they continued their insurance plan. 

All of that should have been obvious from the amendment itself and it should have also been what was reported. Instead, social media and even a few "credible" sources, like CNN and NPR (I won't link to them but you can find them easily enough) gave fake accounts saying that people could be dropped from their insurance due to preexisting coverage and that victims of rape and domestic abuse could end up in the high risk pools. I said in the last post that what determined what would be considered a preexisting condition would be up to the insurance companies since they would be in charge of defining the term, but I also said that I couldn't imagine that the loophole wouldn't be plugged before the law was passed. 

Guess what? It turns out that the loophole has already been fixed in the vast majority of states. 45 states have a blanket ban on using a woman's history of domestic abuse as a preexisting condition and I assume, or at least hope, that would also cover male victims. For rape only two states do not already have laws banning the use of rape as a preexisting condition. The two states that don't, Vermont and Idaho, might be a problem, but considering the combined population of those two states is about 2 million people, this isn't a problem that would affect that many people. 

The Post has a great quote about how many different things would need to occur for this to even be a concern, and I am just going to quote it verbatim: 

"At least 45 states prohibit insurance discrimination like this. Then, it takes several leaps of imagination to assume that survivors of rape and sexual assault will face higher premiums as a result of conditions relating to their abuse. A person would need to be in the individual or small-group market (most Americans under 65 are on employer-provided plans), in a state that sought waivers, and in one of two to five states that did not prohibit insurance-company discrimination against survivors of sexual abuse."


"In other words, this claim relies on so many factors — including unknown decisions by a handful of states and insurance companies — that this talking point becomes almost meaningless."

So in other words, I was right, the news was wrong and there are people out there that probably owe me an apology. I am not expecting to get one anytime soon though. And I also expect that the fake news about this story will continue to spread like wildfire, my efforts, and the efforts of real journalists at the Washington Post (and you have no idea how much it pains me to say that) will probably be all for naught. All I can do is try, and if more people would do what I and the Washington Post did, we would all be better off. 

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