AHCA Could Limit Coverage For Domestic Violence Survivors

May 15, 2017

When the Republican healthcare plan was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, an amendment that could impact people with pre-existing conditions drew strong reactions. Advocacy groups for domestic violence survivors were among the first to speak up.

Training services manager with the Domestic Violence Network, Mary Margret Sweeny says she is concerned about some of the language in the American Health Care Act.

“What we’re worried about when we see this legislation is that those protections we had under the ACA are weakening, and we don’t know to what extent yet,” Sweeny says.

The Obama administration’s ACA, or Affordable Care Act, prohibited insurance companies from rejecting or raising prices for anyone with a condition they had before coverage, including domestic violence victims who may suffer long-term physical and mental health problems.

The GOP plan includes a waiver to opt out of this mandate. Public policy director for Covering Kids and Families, Mark Fairchild, says Indiana policymakers would have a choice.

“To decide if they want to do that and what the ramifications are politically and for the individual Hoosier,” says Fairchild.

But Fairchild says he doesn’t expect a change.

“It’s very unlikely that Indiana would support anything that limits service for victims of domestic violence, our legislators have always been on top of that issue,” Fairchild says.

Catherine O’Connor, the president and CEO of the Julian Center – a safe haven for domestic violence victims in Indianapolis – says domestic violence survivors could be treated differently.

“They deserve the same coverage and the same opportunities for coverage at the same prices that any victim of any violent act deserves,” says O’Connor.

The Senate is working on a rewrite of the AHCA. That is not expected for a few months.