“Have you ever been treated for depression?”

Over the weekend on Twitter, I encountered a heartwarming picture of House Speaker Paul Ryan in cordial conversation with teenagers who have apparently survived childhood cancer.

That photo-op is unfortunate, since Speaker Ryan just passed a healthcare bill that allows states to waive consumer protections that bar insurers from charging higher premiums to childhood cancer survivors.

What’s gotten less attention is that insurers would have more opportunities to get into people’s personal business to charge sick people more. As a health services researcher, I understand why insurers have an incentive to ask: “Have you ever been treated for depression?” But it’s none of their business, and ACA quite rightly prohibited these practices.

More here.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

2 thoughts on ““Have you ever been treated for depression?””

  1. Also at higher risk for making claims: those who have been raped or sexually or physically abused. And those acts will be in official records, so even if a survivor has blocked out of forgotten the details, or was too young to remember them, an insurance company will be able to find out. (And to drop coverage if the policy starts costing them money.)

  2. There's a photo going the rounds: a stock photo of the Capitol at night. But the context turns it into a vassal’s imitation of Barad-dûr.

Comments are closed.