Tag: parity act

Mental Health Parity and the 2008 Campaign

Since no one over at the main Kos site seems to care about anything other than Palin, here’s a cross post…

For those interested in the Native Americans of Southern LA, I’ll post on that tomorrow…however, this is another issue that burns me up, so here’s the rant on this…

It’s a complex issue, but I’ll try to make it short and bittersweet.  Mental health issues are not treated like physical health issues by insurance companies.  Despite the fact that neuroscience has now clearly linked many mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, etc. to genetic issues or chemical imbalances, these are still considered conditions that do not merit the same level of coverage as physical health issues like cancer.  Why?  Because it would cost more money…the helath insurers generally treat these as they did in the 1970’s, offering limited..if any…coverage.

You can go to the National Institute of Mental Health website for the stats..I won’t bore anyone with them here.    However, they indicate that 13 million Americans have some form of debilitating mental health issue and nearly 60 million have a mental health issue of any form.  As with other forms of health care, minorities and the poor suffer more fro m these issues–often due to a lack of care–than other population groups.

Further, this should not be a Red or Blue issue, as anyone, from any background can develop a disorder.  For example, I have a good friend who developed schizophrenia while in college.  He was from a well-off family, had attended a very good private college prep school and was enrolled in one of the top universities.  He started developing symptoms in his sophomore year.  He dropped out, and fell into a spiral that eventually found him homeless or in jail.  He was eventually able to get help, and now lives a precarious, though stable, life on disability.  He is one of the lucky ones, as he had family and friends who gave a shit.  Others aren’t so lucky in their support.