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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

Disability Insurance Observer: Treaties

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Reporting and blogging at the same is, as I’ve written before, difficult, because blogging damages the illusion that I’m at least subtle enough about expressing my opinions to avoid dumping them in your face.

The idea that any reporter is free from opinions is, of course, absurd, because simply being alive expresses the opinion that, all things considered, being alive is at least somewhat close to being as attractive as the alternative.

Writing articles expresses the opinion that someone out there wants to read my articles.

But, at the same time, I don’t want to feel as if I’m writing with an obvious partisan slant, because, really, that’s just no fun at all.

Even if you’re very liberal and very Democratic: it’s not much fun when Nancy Pelosi agrees with you. Of course she agrees with you, most of the time. What’s fun, in that case, is to get John McCain — or, even better, Orrin Hatch — to agree with you.

Similarly, if you’re conservative, you already know that the Heritage Foundation has your back. What would be extra special is to get Consumers Union to support you.

I’d like to be enough in the middle that, when I express an opinion, you think: “Oh! She saw the light!” Not, “Well, of course.”

But it seems to me that it’s fair for me to be very open about holding certain opinions, beyond the opinion that it would be nice if people read my articles.

I openly believe in something that I at least think is free, or freeish, market capitalism; I think the government probably has some kind of hard-to-define real-world responsibility to regulate markets in some way or another; and I understand that social programs can cause a lot of problems, but I want fewer really sad looking panhandlers to be working around the Hoboken offices of

Similarly: I am completely biased in favor of the idea that someone out there should talk at length about the implications for insurance when the Senate is considering bills, resolutions or other documents that include what look like significant references to insurance products.

This week, the Senate has been debating the idea of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Advocates of ratifying the treaty say it would have no effect on current U.S. laws or regulations.

But one provision, Article 25(e), states that the countries that ratify the treaty are supposed to work to “prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance where such insurance is permitted by national law, which shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner.”

That might be a good idea, or it might be a bad idea. Maybe there’s a 42,000-page treatise somewhere that explains why that article would have no effect on U.S. insurance laws, regulations or practices.

Analysts who looked at the treaty in Australia said they think they think the treaty would allow insurers to continue to use any underwriting practices that could be justified with actuarial data.

Maybe the National Association of Insurance Commissioners or insurance trade groups have discussed the treaty to the point that they’re bored with it and happy that it does nothing that they care about to the insurance markets.

But I really don’t see any obvious evidence on the Web that anyone in the United States has given much attention to Article 25(e).

My bias on this point is: Wow. That’s weird. How could the Senate possibly ratify a treaty that could, possibly, maybe, affect a giant industry without someone out there talking at length about the possible effects of the treaty on that industry?

The answer might be that insurers are  avid supporters of the rights of people with disabilities to buy life and health insurance and strongly support efforts to get disability information out of life and health underwriting, but, if that’s the case, it seems as if this might still be a topic worthy of a well-publicized panel discussion or two.

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