A Time To Speak Out

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | September 17, 2009 2:53 pm

In 2009, it is legal in eight states and D.C. for health insurance companies to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence. Read more at Corpus Callosum, The Jackson Free Press, The Huffington Post, and The Primate Diaries.

Get outraged. Speak out. End the silence.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Politics

Comments (7)

  1. njs

    you are unclear .
    is it legal to reject them because they are victims or even if they are victims .
    do both scenarios cause you outrage ?

  2. demonstrator

    Whoever came up with such an idea should be domestically beaten. It is morally incorrect to make domestic violence a pre-existing condition.

  3. John Gilmore

    Dear Dr. Kirshenbaum,

    It’s legal in DC and all fifty states for insurance companies regulated by the federal government to refuse healthcare to people with autism. It is legal in 40 states for insurance companies regulated by the states to refuse healthcare to people with autism.

    Unless you are very wealthy, pray your child doesn’t develop autism.

    John Gilmore

  4. Dave Cowdrick

    I am not sure what either Dr. Kishenbaum’s or Mr. Gilmore’s comments mean. I thought insurance was generally regulated at the State level, not the Federal level. So how does the Federal Government get involved? Is there a reference to relevant Federal statutes or Federal Register entries that can help us understand this better? I will go to the referenced sites for more information, but both of these comments are quite disturbing.

  5. John Gilmore

    Most insurance policies, covering about half the US population, are regulated by the federal ERISA laws, about a quarter of the population have insurance policies regulated by state law. If an insurer decides they don’t want to cover autism care, and apparently victims of domestic violence, there is nothing in federal law to prevent them from doing so, and only a few state laws prohibit this type of discrimination.

  6. Chloride

    That’s pretty awful. And it’s “Ms. Kirshenbaum”.

  7. Brian

    What about the person denied coverage due to an undeclared pre-existing condition? The “pre-existing condition” was acne.

    When one is looking for an excuse, really anything will do.


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.


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