I'm spluttering not so much at this article about insurance refusing to cover bulimia treatment (though the situation is very much splutter-worthy), but at the comments.

Generally, I don't read the comments on news articles mostly because they're either from extremist wingnuts, they're irrelevant, or people use the anonymity of the web to act like immature jackasses.  But I started reading the comments on this article, and my eyes just saw red.  I've gotten used to a lot of the misconceptions about eating disorders ("Just eat a sandwich!"  As if that hadn't occurred to me...) and although they're annoying, I understand that much of them stem from a lack of knowledge rather than sheer idiocy.  That is, I have hope that this person will one day understand EDs a little better once they have more knowledge.

These comments, however, are the epitome of sheer idiocy.  Some examples:

Blue Cross/Blue Shield is my insurance carrier as well. I will call and support them in this decision and I hope many more call and support this decision. I don't want to pay for her care. She is an adult, she needs to take care of herself. I'm glad this has been on the news. It brings awareness to many of us, of the crazy things people try to get insurance companies to pay for. No wonder this country is in a health care crisis. If we all get a disease then we can all be on easy street. WHATEVER

Drug Addicts, Alcoholics, Smokers and people with Eating Disorders (fat & skinny), drive up Health Care costs for everyone. The insurance company should not be responsible or liable for anyone who self indulges themselves with Drugs, Alcohol, Cigarettes, to much food or to little food. It is sad that this family has a loved one that has this disease, but there are million more out there in the same shape she is in, if not worse. Why should the insurance company help her? They don't help Autism

They don't help many child genetic issues either. The disabled children in this country and the Veterans in this country can't even get the medical help they need. So, why does this family feel that their daughter's condition is worthy of help? As far as I am concerned they can pay for it out of there pocket. I have to pay for "most" of my disabled child's medical bills, because insurance won't pay them. Do you see me ranting on tv and picketing the insurance company? No!!!


Let her parents support her! Why should the insurance company pay. In the end all of us that have insurance with BCBS will be contributing to paying for her care. I too am going to call them tomorrow and agree with their decision to not pay for her care. My grandparents need medical help,they have cancer, the insurance company don't pay all of their bills. They act responsible and pay their bills, they don't go picket the BCBS office. They pay for their own home care.

The logic is so bad it's astounding.  Yes, getting sick drives up health care costs.  We will all get sick and it will cost money to get it treated.  Unless you have a way to prevent all illness (and something tells me if you're this blatantly stupid, you don't have the extra neocortex to come up with something so groundbreaking), then we're going to get sick and need insurance.  Any questions?

Also, I think some of these people have picket envy.  If you're pissed off, go picket.  It's your right.  You're allowed.  But don't get pissed because you can't/don't/won't take such a stand.

I just end up incensed when people (some of whom are in my family) see an eating disorder as the self-indulgence of a pampered kid.  I was exercising for hours a day on a broken foot--that's not being pampered.  Something primal in my brain was driving that, something that can't be explained by wanting to stay on my parent's health insurance policy (which wouldn't have happened because I was 28).  If that was the case, the curing an eating disorder would be as easy as refusing people with EDs health insurance.  It has happened to me (I am, literally, uninsurable), and I didn't spontaneously recover once that occurred to me.

I know I shouldn't let the little bastards get to me.  There were supportive comments on there, too.  I know most people try to understand.  But every now and again, the ignorance just astounds me.  I don't wish an eating disorder on anyone, but sometimes, I do wish these people would be able to experience an eating disorder from the inside before they open their gaping, ignorant maws and spew forth utter crap.


Rose said...

Oh my goodness. I saw the link and didn't look at the comments either, but just from the few that you posted, i'm glad I didn't. People are so frustratingly ignorant. I'm not a violent person, but sometimes the internet makes me seem like i could be. The fact that people are going to go out of their way to call Blue Cross Blue Shield assholes and tell them "good job" for helping to kill a sick girl?! That's really disgusting.
I might post a link to this post in the post im writing now, just btw. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, so *that's* the problem with our health care! Silly old me, I had no idea that getting sick costs money! I am almost jealous of these people. Not of their blind ignorance, mind you, but of their inexperience with the hell that is an eating disorder. If only we could all be so lucky.


Carrie Arnold said...


Interesting point- I think there might be a little bit of jealousy because they really don't know the hell of an eating disorder.

Anonymous said...


I really just wish that these people could have a little more compassion for people who struggle with things they don't understand. I don't understand what it's like to have cancer, but I have compassion for people who do. Same thing with any other illness. To actually put energy into *stopping* someone else from getting care is absolutely beyond me. Man, I need to go to bed. I have a feeling this is going to keep me up for a while, though. Thanks for posting this. I actually live in the KC area so I'll have to keep up on the story.


Olivia said...

Wow... it is truely repulsive how insensitive and stupid people can be. But don't let it get to you, they're not worth your time!

Kinder Brain said...

I recommend the book "The Kitchen Shrink" by Dora Wang, for a good read that explains what is happening with the health care system and treatment of mental illness. The vignettes are poignant and engrossing. Unfortunately, we have all become irrelevant to the bottom line of the insurance companies.

Don't let the turkeys get you down! Rock on Carrie!

Anonymous said...

I'll join you in your "splutterings" living just across the boarder in CDN we have a system that is somewhat (OK a whole lot) better. But Stigma huh that goes with it all. I was accused of neglecting my children because I was obsessing over my ED. My two precious children were well cared for by me, my huband and family and friends .... but I was "Indulging" in my illness. Frankly everyday is a battle against so many who see "healthy" (physically Hallelujah I am) body and my childish obsession over "Myself" Sorry I'm ranting!!! This girl not only deserves this treatment but she has a RIGHT ... keep spluttering until they stop being idiots!!!

jadedchalice said...

due to how close to home this hits for me, i am beyond words, and can only say that reading this makes my face hot.

Eating Alone said...

I agree with the sputtering about the comments, and the BCBS call as well.

But let's face it unless you go through it you will never understand it. Not that I wish it on any of the commenters but I get it. Heck it goes through my head a lot too (ED loves that), "Just eat normal." but we both know it doesn't work like that.

Amanda @ HopeHasAPlace said...

Dang, Carrie. You have some guts for reading all of those... I could hardly get through the first comment, and then had to stop reading. (I just skipped through the other comments and read the rest of your post!) I'm appalled and nearly speechless... Unfortunately, this is the mindset of most of the people I know---although they don't act like that, they don't "get" it and would prefer I "just eat" than seek expensive medical treatment, especially now that I "look" recovered (oh, unbaked cakes).

Erin L. said...

wow I had to stop reading because the ignorance was so astounding. I will be posting this on my facebook b/c ppl need to know an ED is not some problem you merely decide to have.

notpollyanna said...

They don't understand eating disorders, which you've all established, but they don't understand insurance companies either. Some of them mention having BC/BS as their insurance and resenting being in the same pool with this particular person. Yes, there are people who are in the insurance pool with her, but just because your insurance is also called BC/BS doesn't mean you are in her pool. There are tons of insurance companies called BC/BS, but they aren't all the same, they are a bunch of separate companies, separate pools of insured patients, who all earn the right to use the name BC/BS by meeting some list of criteria.

Bottom line: These people are just angrily spouting off in ignorance. They don't understand eating disorders or health insurance, but they are angry about this situation based on their misunderstandings of both, among other things. I'm not inclined to value the opinions of people whose opinions are not based in reality.

Charlotte UK said...

Am doing my best to bat away some of the most obvious ignorance but it is very slow to load the comments section for me.

This is the kind of prejudice and stupidity I have come across a lot in my evangelical quest to preach eds to the UK and I have developed an especially good looking down my nose at them look (helps that I'm 6ft) when they spout such prejudicial nonsense.

Bette Davies has nothing on me.

Keep fighting people - remember they are the ones who live in the dark ages and probably still believe you can catch STDs off a public loo seat......


Cathy (UK) said...

I also dislike the comments, the article, and I can perfectly empathise with you (Carrie) and others who are 'spluttering'. To be honest, the comments are not atypical of articles relating to EDs that invite public comment - and it really bugs me too.

I do think that one enormous problem is the way that EDs are viewed and (mis)understood by the public. Much of this public ignorance comes from that usual unreliable source: The Media.

IMO (for what it's worth...) as long as EDs are viewed as socially constructed phenomena (as opposed to being a brain illness), the more ignorance there will be. That is one reason why I was annoyed/frustrated that Naomi Wolf was invited to give a keynote presentation at NEDA. The myth of the 'beauty myth' merely adds to the idea that people who develop EDs are victims of our culture. Nope, we are victims of our own brains and our brains' response to starvation.

Susy said...

I agree with all you said, it's very demoralizing to be told that your disease does not count because it's symptoms are also behaviours, and I agree that an eating disorder is something I would not want anyone to go through but to have a day in that world might be eye opening for some people who think they know and think they have the "answer". Thanks for sharing your anger at this. I also think that what some of those people who wrote in don't get is that the family is not saying their daughter's ED is MORE important than disabilities, autism etc., but that the health care system in general in the US (I am from Canada) is lacking and eating disorders are ONE OF MANY diseases that deserve more coverage or coverage period!

Kou said...

I mentioned this to my former fiancé, first mentioning it as people thinking it was okay for insurance to not help when you get sick. He thought it was crazy up until I said it had to do with eating disorders and then he thought it was normal that they not get any help. "Insurance is for when you break your leg or something like that, not therapists or psychologists."

Niika said...

THIS is why America seriously needs universal health care. In Canada, whether you're autistic or have cancer or have an ED or whatever, if treatment is available in your area, you can get it. It's still harder to get proper ED care than either of the other two, but there are options.

Kate said...

isn't interesting how many snarky comments come from folks with bad grammar? i'll admit, i'm a bit of a snob, but if you're going to write a ridiculous, opinionated comment, at least use your punctuation. and your second 'o.'

Lucy Sparrow said...

I found some of these comments you included absolutely outrageous! I sat here staring at my computer screen with my mouth wide open shocked at the ridiculous generalizations, misconceptions and total inability to consider others' points of view! I find it so hard to believe that people this cruel really exist! Thank you for highlighting this serious issue.

Veronica said...

the same thing happened to me... went IP, stopped behaviors, and got kicked out by insurance after 10 days.
some of those comments are ridiculous, but unfortunately do not shock me. people just don't understand EDs

Renee said...

Idiots. I especially like this doozy: "the insurance company should not be responsible or liable for anyone who self indulges themselves with .... to (sic) little food". Um, how is too little food an indulgence?

Carrie Arnold said...


Your comment just about cracked me up. Especially since I'm reading "The Great Typo Hunt." It's cute and funny, and I would highly recommend it to people who can insult others' grammar.

(I did use that apostrophe right, didn't I?)

The Lonely Square said...

I know this is a really old post, but I've just come across it.

I think it's strange that no one has mentioned that Health Insurance is a service that you PAY FOR. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is a multi-billion dollar company, turning HUGE profits on the "services" they provide. They aren't a charity.

So how does it make any sense that people who would simply like to have access to WHAT THEY PAY FOR are somehow morally abhorrent or taking up resources others should have? I don't understand people who somehow seem to be brain washed out of including corporate greed in the discussion of health care in the US.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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