Friday, September 29, 2006
Reforming Healthcare One Body Part at a Time
Ever wonder why, when it comes to health insurance, they decided that you teeth and your mind were second class? After all, your dental benefits and mental health benefits are inferior to your other medical benefits. Creating benefits that are all equal is called 'parity' so a mental health act that created mental health insurance with no differences would be a mental health parity act. Clinton tried to help, but only got so far as creating mental health parity for government employees and their health plan. Now, the idea is back, through the states, like New Yorks own Timothy's Law. It isn't full parity, does not go far enough, and removes the onus from the smallest businesses, but it is a start...for New York. Other states have their versions also. One thing the Federal Government found is mental health parity does not really cost more because mental health care costs may go up a bit, but other aspects of healthcare drop, as does lateness and absenteeism when mental health care is easily accessible and affordable. One thing that will need to come about for true parity will be when the stigma of mental illness is abolished from people's prejudiced minds. People need to view mental illness like other chronic illnesses; such as asthma and diabetes. It is true that there is an aspect of mental illness,, when not properly treated, that lends an air of unpredictability to the situation. With proper treatment, understanding and supervision, this can be minimized until the risks are statistically no more than for the rest of the population. Removing the stigma and exploring the real costs and benefits of mental healthcare will be where we will go from here. As we begin to discuss the reforming of the rest of healthcare we will see how mental healthcare will integrate into the entire program.