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#72: Palin required rape victims to pay for their own rape kits.

No, she didn’t try to charge rape victims personally for rape kits.

This is one of those complicated ones with a tiny hint of truth behind it.

  • First, the Chief of Police in Wasilla (not Palin) did apparently have a policy of asking a victim’s health insurance to pay for the rape kit as part of the ER visit. This, it turns out, is policy in a number of states, including Missouri and North Carolina.
  • Second, the way this became an issue was after the then-governor of Alaska signed a bill forbidding it; this law was signed before Palin was Governor and no one tried to reverse it while she was Governor.
  • Third, what the CoP in Wasilla wanted to do was charge the perpetrator as part of restitution.

HOWEVER:
Bob Owens (Confederate Yankee) has done more investigation on this and learned some new things:

  • There is no record anywhere that anyone was ever actually charged for a rape kit.
  • However, the hospital might have billed a patient, just as they would bill the patient for an MRI if the attack included a head injury.
  • If anyone were charged, the Alaska Victims Compensation Board would have reimbursed them. CY quotes an email that says:
    Rape kits and other medical expenses of this type would be paid by the VCCB, 100% guaranteed. The City of Wasilla could have technically ‘charged’ the victim but even if they did, the VCCB would have paid the bill in full. I still know the a few of the Board members and the supervisor and I can tell you that they are very liberal with the way that they pay the victims bills.

Update: Tu quoque is never a good argument, but it turns out (via the comments at CY) that there are two interesting points:

First, it turns out that Illinois currently at least attempts to bill the victim’s insurance for the rape kits too:

(410 ILCS 70/7)
Sec. 7. Charges and reimbursement.
(a) When any ambulance provider furnishes transportation, hospital provides hospital emergency services and forensic services, hospital or health care professional or laboratory provides follow‑up healthcare, or pharmacy dispenses prescribed medications to any sexual assault survivor, as defined by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, who is neither eligible to receive such services under the Illinois Public Aid Code NOR COVERED AS TO SUCH SERVICES BY A POLICY OF INSURANCE the ambulance provider, hospital, health care professional, or laboratory shall furnish such services to that person without charge and shall be entitled to be reimbursed for its billed charges in providing such services by the Illinois Sexual Assault Emergency Treatment Program under the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. [Emphasis mine.]

It appears that Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of the bill that estabpished this.

Second, it turns out that North Carolina hospitals billed patients directly until last month (or perhaps later, as it isn’t clear when this law takes effect):

The N.C. General Assembly approved more than $1 million this summer to revamp a program designed to help cover the cost of rape kit exams for uninsured victims. The exams are used to collect bodily evidence of an attacker and are standard in the prosecution of sex crimes.

Now, hospitals will settle directly with the state, sparing victims of sexual assault the aggravation and trauma of receiving a bill.

It turns out that Jim Hunt and now Mike Easley have been the governors of North Carolina since 1993.

It is left as an exercise for the interested reader to determine the political affiliation of these people.

Update (2300 MDT): Two more things have shown up.

First, Bob Owen has received documentation including copies of contemporaneous documents showing that the City of Wasilla did indeed pay for the rape kits of two instances before the law was in effect. As he correctly points out, these were after the law was passed, so it’s not in itself conclusive, but at least suggestive.

Second, Jim Geraghty at NRO has investigated further, and found:

1.Wasilla was not mentioned in any of the hearings. [This is contrary to what Tony Knowles, who Palin beat for the Governorship, has said recently.---CRM]

2. The deputy commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety told the State Affairs Committee that he has never found a police agency that has billed a victim. ….

To clarify: In preparation to attend a hearing and support the bill, one of the state’s top law-enforcement officials found no case of a rape victim ever being charged. And roughly a month after 30 Democratic lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers, not to mention reporters from every major news agency in the country, landed in Alaska, we still have no instances to consider.

3. Three times, witnesses told the committees that hospitals were responsible for passing the bill on to victims, not police agencies. If the bill went straight from the hospital to the victim, without ever being sent to the police department, this would explain why no confirming paperwork could be found in the Wasilla Finance Department. This information also fortifies Palin’s claim that she was never aware of the policy, as it is more plausible that a mayor would not be aware of a private hospitals’ billing policy than of the police department’s billing policy.

Conclusion:

  1. It never happened: Wasilla never charged anyone for a rape kit.
  2. If Wasilla had billed someone, it would have been reimbursed through a different state agency.
  3. The only evidence offered for this is from Palin’s political enemies, offered only after she was nominated for the Vice presidency; it is unsupported, and in fact contradicted, by contemporaneous accounts.

{ 58 } Comments

  1. McGehee | 2008-Sep-23 at 11:27 (@518) | Permalink

    I’ve actually seen an astroturfer refer to this, the “book-banning” thing, and (believe it or not) the “4,000-year-old dinosaurs” satire as arguments against Palin, all in a single post.

    On a forum board in Alaska.

  2. Warren Throckmorton | 2008-Sep-23 at 11:58 (@540) | Permalink

    McGehee – Where did you see this? I would like to track down where this rumor started.

  3. Charlie | 2008-Sep-23 at 12:18 (@554) | Permalink

    Warren, those are actually easy. The “book burning” one originated in the Anne Kilkenny letter; she’s actually recanted that one, saying she mis-phrased it. The “4000 years” one comes from a posting on another blog that is literally entited Fake Palin Rumors.

  4. McGehee | 2008-Sep-23 at 14:19 (@638) | Permalink

    Warren may be asking about the rape kit one. Anyway, the astroturfer I mentioned was talking about all of these long after I’d already seen them debunked — mostly from reading on this site. Obviously he wasn’t originating any rumors, just trying to perpetuate them.

    It didn’t work. Like I said, the forum board is in Alaska — as are most of its readers/commenters.

  5. Charlie | 2008-Sep-23 at 15:39 (@694) | Permalink

    Oh, sorry. The earliest one I found was at “Stop All Monsters.” I’ll add a link to the story.

  6. McGehee | 2008-Sep-23 at 21:08 (@922) | Permalink

    North Carolina hospitals billed patients directly

    <zinnnggggg>

    Now that you mention it, I now seem to recall seeing some buzz about this in the blogosphere a while back. I wish I could remember some of the sites where I saw it.

  7. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-23 at 21:42 (@946) | Permalink

    Actually, that Illinois statute was on the books long before Barack Obama was in the state legislature.

    It was amended in 1997 to replace “When any hospital or ambulance provider furnishes emergency services to any alleged sexual assault survivor …” with “When any ambulance provider furnishes transportation, hospital provides hospital emergency services and forensic
    services, hospital or health care professional or laboratory provides follow-up healthcare, or pharmacy dispenses prescribed medications to any sexual assault
    survivor … ”

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=095-0432

    That means that far from “establishing” any sort of requirement that insurance companies be billed, the bill actually expanded the requirement that all of these entities provide these services free of charge to a sexual assault survivor when an insurance company could not be billed or the victim did not qualify for public aid. It also allowed these entities to seek reimbursement from the state under those circumstances.

    You’ll notice that the state law linked above also requires the state to provide the actual rape kits to hospitals, and to collect them and analyze the evidence.

  8. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-23 at 21:45 (@948) | Permalink

    Sorry, I meant to include the cite for the rape kit statute:

    410 ILCS 70/6.4

    You’ll find it at the link above.

  9. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-23 at 22:28 (@978) | Permalink

    I have to scratch my prior. I wasn’t reading the history notes on the Illinois statute correctly. It turned out I linked to the most recent changes to the law. My apologies.

    However, even if Obama had anything to do with the statute as it read prior to the most recent amendment (I’d appreciate a link), the effect is still the same. Victims of sexual assault may not be charged for hospital or ambulance services if they are uninsured or ineligible for public aid. The hospital collects directly from the state in those cases. And the state provides, collects, and analyzes the data collected by, rape kits.

    I see that Obama did co-sponsor a bill broadening the state victim compensation law:

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/legisnet92/summary/920HB1814.html

  10. Charlie | 2008-Sep-23 at 22:49 (@992) | Permalink

    But the law still permits the insurance carrier to be billed, right? It would seem if Palin were at fault, then Illinois would be at fault too.

    That appears (and follow the links back to Bob Owens’s discussion too) to be all that anyone ever suggested was true in Wasilla; since there was only one reported rape in 2000 (the earliest date for which there were available statistics) and no record of a victim being billed, at least by the police, it seems to be a pretty weak claim that it ever happened. Also, since there is a victims compensation arrangement (again, noted here and at Bob Owen’s CT) it sounds like a sort of pro forma transaction anyway — A bills B but C pays A on B’s behalf.

    The point is not that charging the rape victims is the right thing to do — I find the argument that the police should pay for their own investigation pretty convincing — but to point out that it’s not peculiarly a fault of Palin, but rather the way things have been done generally.

  11. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 00:53 (@078) | Permalink

    I think in Illinois the default position is that a hospital bills an insurance company for any service provided to an insured. So the Sexual Assault Survivor Treatment law doesn’t appear to change that. It simply prohibits providers from charging an uninsured victim, and allows the providers to be reimbursed by the state.

    According to the legislative history for the Alaska bill, almost all police agencies made it their policy to pay the hospital bill. In other words, it didn’t go to the insurer. The Wasilla police department did not have that policy.

    According to the committee hearing minutes, the State Police felt it should be the policy statewide, and they supported the legislation. By all accounts the Wasilla PD resisted and was possibly the last holdout.

    The legislature was well aware that hospitals were sending the bills to insurance companies on occasion, and it was their conviction that no victim should even bear the cost indirectly through their insurance company (aside from the fact they had to pay the deductible).

    So it is pretty much a false issue when CY and others like Jim Geraghty get hung up on whether the police department directly billed the victims or not. The point was they refused to carry the cost and victims paid indirectly.

    Reimbursement to a victim by the Violent Crimes Compensation Board is only available when there are no other resources available, like insurance.

    And by the way, the sexual assault statistics are much higher than one per year, according to the City of Wasilla:

    http://www.cityofwasilla.com/index.aspx?page=103

    Here is a response that links to the bill itself, as well as the hearing minutes and other background info:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/23/16115/5374/342/607826

  12. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 00:55 (@080) | Permalink

    Clarification:

    “The Wasilla police department did not have that policy”….or rather they changed their original policy, and declined to pay the cost.

  13. voxitar | 2008-Sep-24 at 06:45 (@323) | Permalink

    Charlie, all – with respect to the Palin rape kit smear, the Confederate Yankee Blog has a very interesting document that was emailed from the city of Wasilla…it’s an email to then-Chief of Police Don Savage about rape kits that had been paid for BY THE CITY OF WASILLA. Personally, I think it debunks the Palin rape kit smear almost entirely; my friend at Confederate Yankee is not so convinced – read the document and draw your own conclusions:

    http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/

  14. Charlie | 2008-Sep-24 at 08:35 (@399) | Permalink

    Scrumptious, you’ve got a bunch of people who think they remember something that doesn’t seem to be the case in contemporaneous records; Bob Owens has documentation of Wasilla paying for rape kits before the law was in effect; and there are a lot of people testifying contemporaneously that they don’t know of anyone being charged for rape kits. Oh, and you just “know” that the ACCB doesn’t pay for this sort of thing unless other sources don’t pay, versus Bob having someone from the ACCB who says they are very liberal with the payments.

    But let’s assume, arguendo, that all you say is true. Then the policy then was exactly the same as Illinois has now, and better than North Carolina had until a month ago.

  15. voxitar | 2008-Sep-24 at 08:35 (@399) | Permalink

    OOPS…my bad, Charlie…I see you already linked to CY’s document about the city of Wasilla paying for rape kits.

    I think the evidence is overwhelming at this point that neither Palin nor the City of Wasilla PD ever charged any victims of rapes for their own rape kits. The lefties who are still hanging on to this smear are now just flailing.

  16. Charlie | 2008-Sep-24 at 08:40 (@402) | Permalink

    Vox, I updated the last update to claify that while you were writing that comment. I think that is a good point to clarify.

    And Scrumptious, I do appreciate you commenting on this.

  17. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 14:17 (@636) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    I’m not sure what you mean about people remembering something that isn’t in the contemporaneous records. No one disputes that it was not the policy of the Wasilla police department to pay for the exams. You have the police chief on record as saying so.

    If you are referring to the e-mail describing 6 months of payments for exams by the City of Wasilla, I did see that at CY.

    It appears that the first of those four payments was made about a month after the bill requiring the payment was signed, and not quite two months before it took effect. As a side note, I think it is sort of interesting that a town the size of Wasilla had four sexual assaults that required hospital exams in a six month period.

    At any rate, I don’t see how that negates the fact that at the time the bill was passed, the police chief was on record as saying it had not been the department’s policy to pay. Isn’t that really the issue?

  18. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 14:21 (@640) | Permalink

    PS, as to the policy being exactly the same as the Illinois policy, as I said before I think there is one major difference.

    According to official statements of the Alaska State Police, it was the policy of most police departments in the state to pick up the bill for the exam.

    And the state legislature wanted to put that policy into law.

  19. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 14:31 (@646) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    This is really a side note, but one I had meant to bring up while posting last night.

    I mentioned that even an insured victim has to pay the deductible. Beyond the deductible, most insurers require the covered party to pay a certain amount out of pocket for using the emergency room – my policy requires me to pay $50 (unless it’s gone up).

    So consider that even when a victim does not get the bill directly for a rape exam, she or he still gets a statement from the insurance company, with a requirement to pay a a fair chunk of money.

    I think the legislature was right in its concern on the issue.

  20. voxitar | 2008-Sep-24 at 20:10 (@882) | Permalink

    “I’m not sure what you mean about people remembering something that isn’t in the contemporaneous records.”

    Scrumptious – there were transcripts taken during the testimony leading up the Alaska bill requiring law enforcement agencies to foot the bill for rape kits – CY has them – NO ONE, not a single person during these meetings EVER mentioned the town of Wasilla. In fact, quite the opposite – the Head of the Department of Public Safety as well as the director of the Network of Alaskan Domestic Violence And Sexual assault are on record as saying they know of NO instances where either a town or a local police department charged victims for rape kits. The problem stemmed from some HOSPITALS charging victims for rape kits.

    Now, 8 years later, former state Rep. Democrat Eric Croft suddenly remembers that during these meetings Wasilla opposed paying for the rape kits of rape victims…but only AFTER Palin was tapped for VP…? How convenient! And how odd that there is NO mention at all of Wasilla in ANY of the transcript records of committee testimony held prior to the signing of the bill.

    “No one disputes that it was not the policy of the Wasilla police department to pay for the exams. You have the police chief on record as saying so.”

    Actually, there’s a LOT of dispute. There’s NO proof this ever was the policy of the Wasilla PD. The idea that the town of Wasilla charged victims for rape kits stems from a single line, UNSOURCED, by a reporter for the Frontiersman in a story written 8 years ago. Then-Police Chief Fannon’s quote in that same story was that he would try to charge the perpetrators for the kit via court-ordered restitution, or the insurance companies. Nowhere in the story does Fannon say it was the practice of the Wasilla PD to bill victims for rape kit.

  21. voxitar | 2008-Sep-24 at 20:20 (@888) | Permalink

    “At any rate, I don’t see how that negates the fact that at the time the bill was passed, the police chief was on record as saying it had not been the department’s policy to pay. Isn’t that really the issue?”

    What really is that issue is that Fannon’s policy of charging perpetrators or insurance companies for rape kits in Wasilla has morphed into a SMEAR campaign in the MSM and across the blogosphere with blaring headlines like this: “Palin Made Rape Victims Buy Their Own Rape Kits.”

    That SMEAR of Palin, scrumptious, is the issue –
    And thus far all evidence points to the CONTRARY…that, in fact, it was NOT the policy of the Wasilla PD to charge victims for rape kits, nor are there any records via the town’s billing records or the Police Department case files to indicate it was.

  22. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 21:53 (@953) | Permalink

    Voxitar -

    I have read the committee hearing transcripts, thanks.

    The testimony actually does mention that hospitals in the Mat-Su Valley (among others) were in the habit of forwarding bills, and that was the reason the bill was brought forward.

    The two main cities in the Mat-Su Valley are Palmer and Wasilla. According to contemporaneous accounts in the local paper, the Palmer police department always had a policy of paying the bill, and the Wasilla police department changed its original policy so that it no longer paid the bill.

    If you think I am saying the Wasilla police department billed people directly, I suggest you go back and read my comments and also the diary I linked to. It is a false issue.

    And of course this wasn’t brought up ONLY when Palin was named to the ticket. The Wasilla police chief was on record at least as early as 2000, when the bill was passed, objecting to the bill and objecting to having to pay for the exams, and noting that they had not paid for the exams in the past.

    Again, it is NOT disputed that the police department in Wasilla did not pay for the exams prior to the passage of the bill.

    That is not the same as claiming that the police department billed people.

  23. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 21:59 (@958) | Permalink

    To Voxitar on your second comment -

    The fact is that if a victim’s insurance company receives the bill, the victim is being billed, even if indirectly. The legislature recognized that, as you can see in the committee testimony, and they specifically wanted to change that policy.

    And in addition to receiving the statement from the insurance company, the victim is responsible for the deductible and the co-pay (most insurance companies require $50-$100 per ER visit). So it is accurate on that score to say the victim pays, as well. The fact that she or he may be able to obtain reimbursement from the victims compensation board later doesn’t mean she or he hasn’t paid.

    I agree that anyone who’s been claiming that the Wasilla PD directly billed victims is misstating the case. But it is also misstating the case to say no one was ever billed at all.

  24. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-24 at 22:14 (@968) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    I just noticed this in one of your priors:

    “Oh, and you just “know” that the ACCB doesn’t pay for this sort of thing unless other sources don’t pay, versus Bob having someone from the ACCB who says they are very liberal with the payments.”

    Sorry I didn’t notice it before. If you mean the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, the fact is they might be very liberal with their payments, but they still do not pay when other resources are available. It’s something I “just know” by looking at the board’s own website:

    “You will not qualify if you do not provide the information that we ask for or if there is some other source to cover the expenses- such as insurance.”

    http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/ADMIN/vccb/faq_victims.shtml

  25. voxitar | 2008-Sep-25 at 07:09 (@339) | Permalink

    Scrumptious –

    “Again, it is NOT disputed that the police department in Wasilla did not pay for the exams prior to the passage of the bill.”

    And given the voluminous evidence uncovered here, at CY and elsewhere, the fact that former Mayor Palin had NOTHING to do with whether or not rape victims were billed for rape kits can longer be seriously disputed. The evidence is convincing and clear – the concern by some in Alaska 8 years ago was that HOSPITALS might be billing rape victims. NOT Mayors, NOT towns, NOT Police Departments. A bill was introduced in the Alaskan state legislature to address the concern of hospitals charging rape victims for rape kits; it passed and was enacted in August of 2000.

    Given this context, the discussion about rape kits prior to August of 2000 really has NOTHING to do with Palin, Wasilla, or the Wasilla Police Department…so what exactly are we discussing?

  26. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 12:32 (@564) | Permalink

    voxitar -

    Please go back and read my priors.

    And if you think Palin was not aware of a change in policy made by her new appointment, nor of the change in the budget she signed, nor of the fact that a bill was introduced based in part on the complaints of victims in her borough being charged (and we know it wasn’t Palmer), nor of her own chief’s vocal opposition to the bill…well, possibly that speaks to the quality of her “executive experience.”

  27. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 13:28 (@603) | Permalink

    PS to voxitar -

    HB 270 was not “introduced in the Alaskan state legislature to address the concern of hospitals charging rape victims for rape kits,” it was introduced to address the concern that not all police departments were picking up the bill for the exams.

    The hospitals still bill for the exams, as they are entitled to. Now the police department is REQUIRED to pay the bill:

    “Sec. 18.68.040. Costs of examination and certain medical care to be borne by law enforcement agency. A law enforcement agency or other authority that is ivestigating a sexual assault that is alleged or suspected to have occurred within its jurisdiction is responsible for the costs of testing for sexually transmitted diseases,emergency contraception, and examination of the victim necessary for
    (1) collecting evidence using the sexual assault examination kit under AS 18.68.010 or otherwise; or
    (2) determining whether a sexual assault has occurred.”

    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill_text.asp?hsid=HB0270A&session=21

  28. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 13:44 (@614) | Permalink

    I wish there was an edit function here. I need to correct my prior. I posted the introduced version of the bill, not the bill as it was passed and as now appears in law:

    Section 1. AS 18.68 is amended by adding a new section to read:

    Sec. 18.68.040. Sexual assault victim may not be required to pay for examination. A law enforcement agency, health care facility, or other entity may not require a victim of sexual assault under AS 11.41.410 – 11.41.425 who is 16 years of age or older to pay, directly or indirectly, through health insurance or any other means, for the costs of examination of the victim necessary for
    (1) collecting evidence using the sexual assault examination kit under AS 18.68.010 or otherwise; or
    (2) determining whether a sexual assault has occurred.”

    So yes, the statute as it now reads simply says no one can bill a victim or her or his insurance company for the costs of the exam. But we know from the bill history itself, and the minutes of the committee hearings on the bill, that the concern was that all but a few police agencies in the state were paying the bills, and they wanted to make the policy universal. This was also the position of the Alaska State Police.

  29. Charlie | 2008-Sep-25 at 14:37 (@651) | Permalink

    Scrumptious, I know how you feel; I’ve got no idea how I would do that though.

    I can edit these things, if you really would rather change it than use your revised version.

    As to the point you make to Vox, we still don’t have any evidence of anyone ever being billed; everything contemporaneous we’ve got is one somewhat ambiguous sentence from the Frontiersman. Everything else is coming from eight year old memories, very much in the speaker’s interest if they’re trying to harm Palin, and contradicted by the written record. With that in mind, the case for this one seems extremely weak.

  30. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 16:24 (@725) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    The contemporaneous record contained in the hearing minutes states that victims were receiving, at the very least, insurance statements. Those minutes also reveal that hospitals in the Mat-Su Valley, where Wasilla is located, were in the habit of forwarding bills to victims. From contemporaneous newspaper accounts, we know that the other main city in the valley, Palmer, did not allow victims to be billed, and that the Wasilla police chief acknowledged that his department did not pay the bills.

  31. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 16:28 (@728) | Permalink

    PS, we also have the statement of the Wasilla police chief that it was their policy that the victim’s insurance company be billed when possible. That seems pretty clear to me.

  32. voxitar | 2008-Sep-25 at 16:35 (@732) | Permalink

    “…nor of the fact that a bill was introduced based in part on the complaints of victims in her borough being charged…”

    Now this IS news. Was not aware of published reports of complaints from rape victims in Wasilla. Where can I read about these complaints? Both my google and my nexus-lexis appears to be broken, because I’ve searched and I’m coming up empty.

    “..nor of her own chief’s vocal opposition to the bill…”

    Which consisted entirely of the statement “I’d prefer not to see taxpayers not pay for them…they should be paid for by the perp or by the insurance companies.”

    The fact that Fannon felt this way does NOT mean that Sarah Palin auhtorized, approved, or was ever even asked her opinion about whether or not rape victims in Wasilla ought be charged for their own rape kits.

    Now, how about that cite where I can read about the rape victims from Wasilla complaining about being charged for rape kits?

  33. voxitar | 2008-Sep-25 at 16:36 (@733) | Permalink

    “PS, we also have the statement of the Wasilla police chief that it was their policy that the victim’s insurance company be billed when possible. That seems pretty clear to me.”

    It DOES seem clear – it seems clear that HOSPITALS billed rape victims for the rape kits – NOT Palin, NOT the city of Wasilla, and NOT the Wasilla PD.

    Unless of course you have proof otherwise.

  34. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 16:54 (@746) | Permalink

    voxitar -

    The comment about the hospitals in the Mat-Su Valley forwarding the bills was from the committee hearing. The advocate said that was one of the reasons the bill was being introduced. She also pointed out that sending a bill to the insurance company amounted to billing the victim, even if indirectly. And then of course there’s this:

    “She emphasized that it is incomprehensible that the victim should have to relive the crime upon receiving a bill for the assault exam from her insurance company. It puts her right back to when it happened.”

    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_single_minute.asp?ch=H&beg_line=0603&end_line=0887&session=21&comm=HES&date=20000323&time=1503

    That was a point the legislature agreed with, and they subsequently passed the bill.

    We also know from the committee hearings that most police agencies picked up the bill…in other words, it didn’t even go to the insurance company.

    The Wasilla police chief is not only on record as opposing the bill, but stating that it was the prior policy to have the insurance company billed … exactly what the legislature was trying to prohibit.

    As to the rest, I have never claimed the Wasilla PD or Palin directly billed victims. However, that was the practical result when their insurance companies were billed by the hospital, because (unlike most other police departments in the state) the Wasilla police department declined to cover the cost.

  35. Charlie | 2008-Sep-25 at 19:12 (@841) | Permalink

    So, Scrumptious, what you’re saying is you don’t know that anyone in Wasilla was ever charged — since we have no evidence of it, and lots of documents and information that say no one can find any evidence of it, record of it, or discussion of it, other than a single sentence in a news story.

    We’ve also seen that if anyone in Wasilla was charged, it may well have been by the hospitals, not the police; that it may have been that if so, and the police ever saw the charges, that doesn’t mean Palin know about it; that if it were true, it’s not particularly different from policies that long outlasted the Alaskan changes; and that Palin, who had otherwise a very strong history of being on the side of abused and mistreated woman, has said in the most definite terms that she opposes, and has always opposed the policy of making woman pay for the rape kits.

    Can you explain to me how a fair-minded person could continue to hold that Palin did both support it and that it actually happened?

  36. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-25 at 20:08 (@881) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    I am saying all the evidence says victims in Wasilla were charged at least through their insurance companies. (No one has said what happened to uninsured victims.)

    Of course it was the hospitals charging…they do the exams, not the police.

    We also know that the Wasilla police department, unlike most of the other police agencies in the state, did not pick up the bill.

    I find it hard to believe Palin was not aware of this policy. Possibly she wasn’t, but that would seem to reflect on her oversight abilities.

    Her spokeswoman simply said Palin “does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test.” It may be that she understood the question as many who reported on it have…that victims were directly billed and paid out of pocket. We don’t know, given the limited response. But we do know that victims certainly did pay for the test through their insurance coverage, the deductible, and the out-of-pocket co-pay, regardless of what Palin believed.

    As to a fair-minded person holding “that it actually happened”…I’m not sure what you mean.

    Did the police department directly bill victims? No. Did victims end up paying through their insurance (and deductible and copay) because the Wasilla police department did not cover the costs? Yes.

  37. voxitar | 2008-Sep-26 at 17:14 (@760) | Permalink

    OK scrumptious, I can see you are well-versed in the art of spin, but let me ask you directly this question…you said, and I quote:

    “…a bill was introduced based in part on the complaints of victims in her borough being charged…”

    Can you cite for us ANY evidence – a letter, a note, a transcript of a meeting, a receipt, a witness to a conversation…ANYTHING….that indicates a rape victim from Wasilla COMPLAINED about ANYTHING….be it Mayor Palin, the Wasilla Police Department, the town of Wasilla…?

    If a bill was introduced in the state legislature of Alaska as a direct result of complaints, then surely those complaints should be on record somewhere. Please point me to them.

  38. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-26 at 20:29 (@895) | Permalink

    voxitar -

    I have already said that the committee hearing minutes specifically say that one of the reasons the bill was brought forward was because hospitals in the Mat-Su Valley were forwarding bills to the victims (or their insurance companies).

    Do you think the advocate who brought this up pulled this information out of thin air?

    And we know that victims (or their insurance companies) in Palmer were not receiving bills. We also know that the insurance carriers (at least) of the victims in Wasilla were being billed.

    I realize that you refuse to take the word of the staffer who actually worked on the bill, but you can’t say it doesn’t qualify as evidence.

    Finally, remember that the committee hearing minutes are not transcripts. They are a summary of what transpired in a hearing. We do not know which specifics were mentioned, what documents were provided, what contact was made with legislators, or what information was introduced during the floor debate. Oh, except for what the man who introduced the bill said…no good in your opinion.

    Whether you think individuals complained or not, the fact was that the billing practices in the Mat-Su Valley, where the Wasilla police department was the only police department that did not cover the bills, where victims insurance carriers were billed, was one of the reasons the bill was introduced.

    Spin away.

  39. Charlie | 2008-Sep-27 at 01:14 (@093) | Permalink

    Scrumptious, let’s try to make some sort of sumamry sense here.

    First of all, the rumor is “Palin made rape victims pay for their own rape kits.” Now, just logically, that requires that

    - it, first of all, actually happened
    - it was Palin’s policy, not someone else’s, or at least that Palin was aware of the policy
    - and that Palin had control over that policy, and could change it.

    In favor of that, we’ve got:

    - a less than definite single sentence in a newspaper story.

    - several statements — that serve the speakers’s political interest — about what they remember from eight years ago; these statements are contradicted by the actual hearing transcripts.

    - a hearing transcript that says they had complaints from the Mat-su, Anchorage, and Kenai areas that such charges had been made at some time. That’s an area a couple of hundred miles square, comprising perhaps 90 percent of Alaska’s population.

    In opposition, there are:

    - positive statements that no records of those charges exist

    - contemporaneous records of Wasilla making the payments

    - contemporaneous statements by the Alaska Public Safety department that no one knew of these charges being made.

    There’s also the fact that there’s only one hospital in the whole Mat-Su valley, in Palmer and not in Wasilla or under Palin’s authority.

    Are you sure you’re giving Palin a fair shake here?

  40. voxitar | 2008-Sep-27 at 09:20 (@430) | Permalink

    “I have already said that the committee hearing minutes specifically say that one of the reasons the bill was brought forward was because hospitals in the Mat-Su Valley were forwarding bills to the victims (or their insurance companies).”

    Yes, and if the rumor was “Hospitals in Mat-Su valley charge victims for rape kits” your comment might be relevant. I specifically asked if you had any evidence that ANY rape victims ever complained about the Wasilla PD or Mayor Palin…I take it by your non-response you have none.

    So, it appears that this debate has become about the wisdom of a hospital forwarding a bill for a rape kit to a victim’s insurance company…which is fine, but let’s acknowledge that this debate has NOTHING to do with former Mayor Palin.

  41. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-27 at 16:31 (@729) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    I think there are all sorts of variations of the rape-kit story out there. I for one have never claimed that Palin herself required victims to pay for their own exams; I do find it hard to believe she was not at least aware of the Wasilla policy.

    Before I address your points, let me clarify something. There is a difference between paying for a “rape kit” and paying for the exam that collects the evidence for the rape kit, tests for STD, etc. It appears the rape kit itself is distributed by the state under Alaska law:

    http://touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/Statutes/Title18/Chapter68/Section010.htm

    I don’t see a history note for this statute, but given the newspaper accounts and hearing minutes, let’s assume it was in place prior to 2000.

    It’s also not clear to me who the “appropriate person under the protocols” developed under state law may be, but I don’t see how it would result in a private entity being billed for the kit itself.

    Okay, so the question is the cost of the exam itself.

    We understand it is the hospitals doing the billing.

    I never suggested that the hospital was under Palin’s authority, or the authority of any city. The Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is actually located between Wasilla and Palmer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mat-Su_Regional_Medical_Center), but that’s not really the issue. The police agency with jurisdiction over the investigation is usually the one ordering the test…and picking up the bill.

    The Wasilla police chief himself is on record as saying victim’s insurance companies were billed “when possible.” He is also on record as not supporting the new proposal that insurance companies not be billed.

    So yes, we know it “actually happened.”

    If the “contemporaneous records of Wasilla making the payments” are the payment records for June – Dec. 2000, as you have pointed out, they begin just after the bill was signed, and just before it took effect.

  42. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-27 at 16:32 (@730) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    I posted in another comment section that I would like to send you an e-mail but can’t find a contact address for you.

    Could you please e-mail me so I can respond to you via the “reply” function?

    Thanks.

  43. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-27 at 16:36 (@733) | Permalink

    voxitar -

    Yes, we’ll just assume a victims’ advocate absorbed the fact that there was a problem by osmosis. And victims were perfectly happy to get itemized statements from their insurance carriers, with a charge for any deductible (which could of course be the entire cost) and a $75 copay. They probably never uttered a peep.

    The debate is about the fact that this was the policy of the Wasilla police department, unlike most of the other police agencies in the state. If you want to think that a mayor who went over the city budget line by line and made dollar amount changes was completely unaware of this policy, be my guest.

  44. Charlie | 2008-Sep-27 at 17:40 (@778) | Permalink

    So yes, we know it “actually happened.”

    No, we know that you have a plausible way to explain how it could have happened.

    But we also have multiple people saying they can’t find a record of it having happened.

  45. Charlie | 2008-Sep-27 at 17:47 (@782) | Permalink

    Oh, and Scrumptious, I’m sorry, but the rumor and the story really was that PALIN made rape victims pay for their own rape kits. Look at any of the screeds that have been on any of the sites like DKos, DU, etc.

    What we have now appears to be that the Palmer hospital may have made some people pay for their own rape exams. Who may have been brought in from Wasilla. As hospitals in Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina apparently have done.

    But no one has any actual records indicating that. And that there are records showing Wasilla paying for some rape kits, or exams, or something.

  46. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-27 at 18:03 (@793) | Permalink

    Chalrie -

    We have the police chief’s statement that up until the time the bill was passed, victims’ insurance companies were billed. I think that’s a pretty good indication it did happen.

    The only way you could find a “record” of insurance companies being billed is to look at the hospital records or the insurance records.

    Honestly, I’m not sure of the point you’re trying to make? Are you actually trying to say that the hospitals did NOT bill victims’ insurance companies and that the Wasilla police department picked up the bill instead?

    If so, what is your evidence of that? Records that the city paid the hospital AFTER the bill was passed?

  47. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-27 at 18:13 (@801) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    As to your statement that “the rumor and the story really was that PALIN made rape victims pay for their own rape kits” … I did run a quick Google

    [Fixed it. --CRM]

    From what I can see, most of the “rumors and stories” were that the City of Wasilla or the Wasilla Police Department made victims pay, or at worst “billed” or “charged” victims while Palin was mayor, and then various questions as to how much responsibility she bore for that policy.

    While it is missing a few factual steps to say that the city or police department “billed” victims, the end result is that victims did have to pay through their insurance companies (which some reports point out and others don’t). And there is a legitimate question as to how much responsibility Palin bears for that policy…to my mind she hasn’t really answered that question.

    Has the story been misreported on both sides? Yep.

    It doesn’t mean the underlying questions are not valid.

  48. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-27 at 18:14 (@801) | Permalink

    Sorry of the running-off-the-page link.

  49. Charlie | 2008-Sep-28 at 19:36 (@858) | Permalink

    Don’t worry about the lin, I fixed it up.

    On the Google, there’s the Daily Kos story that comes up first on this:

    “It would appear that Sarah Palin has a problem with Rape. In addition to not supporting the availability of Abortion for victims of Rape, Mayor Sarah Palin, Maverick, Fiscal Conservative, also had citizens of Wasilla pick up the bill for their own forensics tests.

    Here’s from the St Pete Times’s PolitFact: “Bloggers contend Palin supported a city policy that charged sexual assault victims for forensic exams.”

    On the policy thing, well, you’ve got about three words in a quote in a contemporaneous newspaper story to support the idea that it was the policy, while Bob found point after point in things like the official hearing transcripts that at least don’t support, and at times flatly contradict, the various after-the-fact statements supporting it.

    Oh, and Palin has been asked, and via a spokesperson has flatly denied it was ever her policy.

    It’s not that I think it’s unfair to ask the question; it’s that it seems it’s been fairly asked, and fairly answered in he negative.

  50. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-29 at 01:19 (@096) | Permalink

    I don’t understand. Are you actually claiming that the hospital did not bill the insurance companies of victims in Wasilla prior to the bill’s passage?

  51. Charlie | 2008-Sep-29 at 11:26 (@518) | Permalink

    I’m saying that the connection to Palin is a lot stronger in the rumors than in any evidence I’ve seen presented.

  52. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-29 at 16:36 (@733) | Permalink

    So let me get this straight.

    You agree that until the Croft bill was passed, it was the policy of the City of Wasilla/the Wasilla police department not to pick up the bill for the rape exams, but to allow hospitals to bill victims through their insurance carriers, correct?

  53. Charlie | 2008-Sep-29 at 18:19 (@804) | Permalink

    Nice try, but no. Bring Lion and Tin Man next time.

  54. voxitar | 2008-Sep-30 at 12:05 (@545) | Permalink

    “You agree that until the Croft bill was passed, it was the policy of the City of Wasilla/the Wasilla police department not to pick up the bill for the rape exams, but to allow hospitals to bill victims through their insurance carriers, correct?”

    Scrumptious, the point is that based on committee testimony, as noted by Charlie and transcribed here and elsewhere, it appears there never was an actual “policy” by the Wasilla PD with respect to rape kits. When a rape victim was taken to Valley Hospital by the Wasilla PD, the HOSPITAL then decided to charge the victim WITHOUT involving the Police, the town of Wasilla, or Mayor Palin. I’m not sure how you can make the stretch that a private Hospital’s policies are also the local mayor’s policies….or the local Police Department’s policies.

    To NOT believe this is the way things transpired is to disbelieve actual facts in evidence, i.e. the transcribed testimony, whereby victim advocates stated the HOSPITALS were charging the victims…they could cite NO instances of the City of Wasilla PD (or any other PD) billing victims for rape kits, which, I might add, directly contradicts what are clearly now known to be partisan, untrue (read: LIE) comments by Croft AFTER Palin was nominated for VEEP.

    So, to answer your question, it does appear it was the policy of the HOSPITAL to charge rape victims for rape kits. It doesn’t appear that there was a policy in the Wasilla PD with respect to rape victims paying for their own rape kits unless new documents emerge to suggest otherwise.

  55. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-30 at 16:44 (@739) | Permalink

    Charlie -

    Wait a minute.

    In #50 I asked if you were claiming that the hospital did not bill the insurance companies of victims in Wasilla prior to the bill’s passage.

    In #51 you replied: “I’m saying that the connection to Palin is a lot stronger in the rumors than in any evidence I’ve seen presented.”

    Which implied to me at least that no, you were not claiming that the hospital did not bill the insurance companies of victims in Wasilla prior to the bill’s passage. Which means of course that the city or police department did NOT pick up the bill.

    Now you seem to deny that.

    I’ll try not to insult you if you will refrain from insulting me.

  56. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-30 at 16:46 (@740) | Permalink

    Sorry Voxitar, either a police agency picks up the hospital bill or it doesn’t. We know that Irl Stamberg’s police department did pick up the bill. We know that Fallon’s police department, unlike almost every police department in the state, didn’t.

    Parse it however you want, but them’s the facts.

  57. scrumptious | 2008-Sep-30 at 16:50 (@743) | Permalink

    You know what, I think I’m done here.

    I originally sensed an attitude of genuine interest in getting to the facts of the matter, at least on your part, Charlie.

    I think I may have been wrong.

    You take care.

  58. Charlie | 2008-Sep-30 at 21:20 (@930) | Permalink

    Sheli, I’m sorry you took it that way. But logically, you presented a straw man: if I say “I don’t know of evidence for X” without saying that X is absolutely not true, and you say “so you admit X”, that’s a straw man. Who, of course, is the one missing from the list including Lion and Tin Man.

    I could, I suppose, said “that is a fallacious argument Sheli; it’s called a straw man. Since I used to teach logic, I don’t think you should use a straw man argument.”

    But yeah, I would imagine that if that degree of teasing is going to make you too angry to continue, then I suspect you won’t be happy here long term.

{ 5 } Trackbacks

  1. [...] all this piece does is help perpetuate the myth. Thankfully, in addition to the blog posts I linked to in my first post about this, Jim Geraghty at the National Review Online has [...]

  2. [...] Unfortunately, all this piece does is help perpetuate the myth. Thankfully, in addition to the blog posts I linked to in my first post about this, Jim Geraghty at the National Review Online has done [...]

  3. [...] In reality, and had any journalist in the MSM outlets bothered to do their job instead of working for the Obama campaign 24/7, there was a state law forbidding charging victims of rape for their rape kits since 2000. As for where it all came from, the chief of Police( chief of police, not Palin) in Wasilla wanted to have the Insurance companies(Insurance companies, not the victims) to pay for them, with the intention of billing it ultimately to the rapists eventually. However, there isn’t a single piece of record that shows that a single victim’s insurance was ever billed for it. If this practice still seems creepy or exclusive to macho, rough-and-tumble Alaska, well, it happens to be the practice in other states, too, like North Carolina (until recently) and … Illinois. [...]

  4. more rape kits « Pigs with Lipstick | 2008-Oct-16 at 22:48 (@991) | Permalink

    [...] union- my first letter to the editor! :o) Anyway, he comes back today FINALLY with this article: Palin Myths . Which pissed me off (surprise, surprised). So here’s my [...]

  5. [...] it turns out that skepticism wins the day. Thanks to very thorough debunkings by bloggers Charlie Martin of Explorations and Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee, we can put this bit of nastiness to [...]

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