Eve had a pre-existing condition. She has passed it down to women in America, and it has nothing to do with you-know-who’s rib. My suspicion is that it’s about Eve’s plumbing. Most civilized countries overlook the Eve stigma, but not here in America, where “I Am Woman,” translates to “I Pay More” for health insurance (never mind being paid less for equal work). Through an insurance industry practice known as “gender rating,” women pay 30-48% more than men for the same policies on the individual market.
The right to bear children
Second amendment activists loudly proclaim their right to bear arms, yet the right (and affordability) to bear children is endangered by some health insurance companies as evidenced by the recent disclosure by a Colorado woman who was denied individual coverage after leaving an employee provided plan. Golden Rule Insurance turned down Peggy Robertson due to a pre-existing condition of having had a C-section (over 30% of births are delivered by C-section), but offered to insure her if she were to be sterilized. This draconian “offer” was actually made in a letter to Ms. Robertson after she filed an appeal related to her rejection by Golden Rule. (This concept is so shameful to me that it’s difficult to imagine any company would say this, much less actually put it to paper for posterity – and the Internet.)
Sometimes, irony is downright delicious
Even if painful and unjust. In this case, I’m referring to the name of the insurance company: Golden Rule. Seriously? They dared to brand their company with a moniker that is synonymous to the ethic of reciprocity. Do unto others (you know the rest), a basic tenet of civility and human rights, the real Golden Rule would then suggest that only men who have had vasectomies would be covered by their insurance plan. What then is next? Voluntary mastectomies because Eve’s plumbing also came with ready nutrition for the children she might bear, but put her at risk for breast cancer?
In all but five states, it is legal for insurance companies to discriminate against women who have had C-sections, as if these surgeries are usually elective, and tantamount to a facelift. Never mind that most C-sections are performed for lifesaving reasons for child or mother, or birth defect preventing reasons for the child. (“Please Mr. [or Ms] OB/GYN, pretty please cut my gut open! I’d really like to stumble around in pain with my newborn and get that new grey stitch line above my bikini.”)
Domestic Violence and Abuse – Another pre-existing condition.
According to a recent study by the non-partisan, non-political National Women’s Law Center, eight states allow insurers to deny individual coverage to women based on the so-called “pre-existing” condition of domestic violence. Give me a break – and I don’t mean of the arm or leg. More irony – isn’t that what insult to injury is all about? Interestingly, the states involved are either in the “Wild West” (Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) or the South (North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Mississippi).
Thankfully, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is taking on the issue of Health Care Equality. Women – and men, need to tell congress how grossly unfair these discriminating practices are to all people, male or female. Get loud; get very, very loud. Do this for yourself, your wife, your daughter, your friend, or man and womankind. Or, at least quietly (and easily) become involved by being just another number – this time with some power.