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Blogging Against Disablism Day 2009

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2009

I've been feeling rather burnt out of activist blogging lately. Part of me just doesn't feel like talking about isms of any kind, even ableism. I'm... bored of all that.

At the same time, though, ableism isn't bored of me. I'm sure some of you remember my searching earlier this year for private health insurance. I called several insurance companies, figuring the right thing to do would be to tell them about my disability, and get its affecting my premiums overwith.

Regardless of my repeated insistence that my disability is mild, I got the curt response not that my premiums would cost more, but that I was ineligible for any coverage at all.

I finally got someone to quote me something. Said person suggested what I'd been thinking all along: that coverage shouldn't be denied me.

We talk a lot in the blogoverse about the more subtle effects of isms. We discuss what motivates "offhand" remarks, what drives distasteful social trends, etc. And that can lead to burnout easily, or at least it can for me. I'm tired of the endless "what drives people to do/want/wear X?" discussions.

But the thing to remember, and it's hard to remember when we're in the umpteenth "should women shave their legs?" or "it's not okay to use 'gay' as an insult" discussion, is that isms haven't just become mild annoyances to gab about on blogs. Sometimes big things happen... like not getting health insurance.

It turned out all right for me, but it only did because I proved to some sympathetic guy from some big insurance company that I'm not that disabled after all. This is entirely backwards, and means the only reason I don't have to pay out of pocket for my health care (or crowd ERs) is, essentially, my passing privilege.

That's flat out wrong, and even dangerous.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Guh. That's totally fucked up in so many ways.

(I really hope my brother can get some health insurance. Or that we get, y'know, universal basic coverage in this damn country. Or something.)
May. 2nd, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
are you telling me that because i have cerebral palsy i may be subject to higher premiums or denied coverage altogether *because* of it?

holy shit.

*stunned silence*
May. 2nd, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
If you talk to the same bastards I did... yes.
May. 2nd, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
In some states they can give you higher rates because of gender, others it is 'persistent diseases/disorders' and others it could be because of cancer screenings and the like. Some states work to protect their citizens, others less so.

the whole thing is really depressing.
May. 2nd, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
I should do this. It will be late, but I should do this. Trin, you are always good for the ass kick reminder.
May. 2nd, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
Private insurance is so rough to get, and even a lot of workplace policies have really busted "preexisting condition" exclusions.

You're absolutely right that it is incredibly busted that it takes passing privilege to get health care.
May. 2nd, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
Style = sardonic, of course. There are worse things than an invisible disability.
If I'd known it was Blog Against Disablism Day (and had been conscious) yesterday, I would have made an educational post: Mitochondrial Myopathy: Yes, It Is A Real Thing And No I Didn't Make It Up For Sympathy/So I Could Skip Gym Class/To Get Out Of Helping You Move Your Furniture. The only thing worse than an invisible disability is an invisible disability that nobody's ever heard of.

Edited at 2009-05-02 12:39 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
This is why I don't buy it when people try to tell me the system South of me is better than the health system I live in.

Most people with severe disabilities in Canada have their health care subsidized more heavily than the rest of the population, based primarily on their income and its impact on the ability to pay the health premiums.

In Alberta, which went premium-free as of January, I used to pay $44 quarterly for an individual. It was $88 for a family.
May. 4th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
It is frustrating that the people who need the most help with health insurance are so often disqualified.

And thank you for the reminder that there are still a LOT of everyday, huge, isms that are inhibiting people's lives.
May. 15th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
Refusing insurance ...
It used to be (or at least this is my understanding) that all deaf people in the US were automatically refused medical insurance. Deaf people ended up banding together to form their own medical insurance company to insure themselves and did this for I'm not sure how many years until policies changed. I've now been insured since birth, as a deaf person (though under continuous coverage so the "pre-existing condition" thing never kicked in). However, insurances tend to be very hit and miss in whether they cover certain things like hearing aids: many don't for some reason. Sometimes even companies that will support cochlear implant surgery still won't support hearing aids.

It sucks that insurance companies discriminate so arbitruarily based on disability. I *could* say, "People with cp should get together and fight back the way the deaf community did..." and that might help people with cp, but then other people with other types of disabilities would probably still be left behind. We need something more systematic, though I'm not clever enough to know what, exactly. Other than fighting discrimination in general (for example using the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a legal tool -- http://www.un.org/disabilities ) but there also needs to be something more targeted.

Andrea S.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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