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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Big Insurance Bootlicking: How Low Can They Go?

Sometimes the voting behavior of certain members of “the world’s greatest deliberative body” is so far beneath contempt that it can be likened to a demented limbo dance, in which the bar is set so low that only the most reptilian of U.S. Senators dare try to slither under it. Sue Sturgis of Facing South may have found a new measure for such low-lifery in the U.S. Senate in her report “The 10 Senators who vetoed insurance protection for domestic violence survivors.” As Sturgis explains:

…Health insurance companies in a number of states and the District of Columbia are allowed by law to treat domestic violence as a pre-existing condition for which they can deny individual coverage…The story was met with outrage, but it gets even worse.
The blog of the Service Employees International Union, which is pressing for health insurance reform, reports that in 2006 a Senate committee considered an amendment to the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act that would have required insurers to stop ignoring state laws that make it illegal for them to deny coverage to domestic violence survivors — and 10 Senators, all Republicans, voted against it. They were:
* Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
* Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
* John Ensign (R-Nev.)
* Mike Enzi (R-Wy.)
* Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)
* Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
* Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
* Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
* Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
* Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

Yes, that’s right. These ten Republican Senators reportedly voted to protect the right of health insurers to deny coverage to women who have been beaten by their spouses. As Sturgis notes, Frist, a physician no less, is thankfully out of the picture. But the others are still railing away, doing what they can to stop the Democratic reform plan. If they think it’s OK for insurance companies to penalize battered women, it’s hard to imagine what kind of “reform” they would support.

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