It appears the trump administration’s war on women was quietly embedded in the new GOP Health Care repeal proposal (Trumpcare), which was passed by the House of Representatives last week.
According to a report by Joan Cook, a psychologist and associate professor at Yale University who researches traumatic stress and clinically treats combat veterans, in the current American Health Care Act (AHCA), insurers could elect to deny coverage or charge much higher premiums to individuals who have been sexual assaulted at some point in their life.
The reason? Under Trumpcare, sexual assault could be seen as a pre-existing condition, Dr. Cook writes in an op-ed for The Hill.
“This is upsetting to me and I’d like to explain why. Sexual assault is pretty common in our country,” she writes. “While we could quibble over the exact definition, typically sexual assault is defined as any sort of sexual activity between two or more people in which one of those people is involved against his or her will.
According to recent statistics, it is estimated that one in four women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual assault at some point in their life. In fact, less than one in six women report their rape experiences to the police. Also because of perceived stigma, shame and fears of people judging us, we don’t always indicate on surveys, even anonymous ones, our true sexual assault histories.
Cook argues that “when trying to make the case that it’s terribly unfair, and in my mind, inhumane to make sexual assault history a pre-existing condition, it’s important to consider that childhood sexual abuse is associated with the subsequent onset of 14 mood, anxiety and substance use disorders among women.”
“Childhood sexual abuse, whether experienced alone or in combination with other childhood adversities, was associated with substantial increased risk of serious psychopathology. And while likely translates to the need for more healthcare services for these women, it is ludicrous to think that they who have born this brunt should have to pay more or be excluded from insurance because of it. Haven’t they suffered enough?”
Cook states that many victims blame themselves for having such histories — they think they brought it on themselves, see their character as deeply flawed. Telling them they have to pay more or be denied insurance only adds insult to injury.
“As a psychologist who has conducted research and worked clinically with trauma survivors over the past 20 years, I have a message: For all the mothers, daughters and sisters out there who have experienced sexual assault, for all the fathers, sons and brothers, for all the family members and friends, for all current and former patients, know that this: This is not OK.”
“Know that you are not alone, that sexual assault is not your fault, and know that I feel your pain in this marginalization, betrayal and violation once again,” she said, blasting the newly passed GOP Health Care plan.
H/T: The Hill.