Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's Missing from the Health Care Bill?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Are you ready for some health care? Yes? For your sake I hope it's a problem that begins below your forehead.

There's been much made of the exclusion of payments for abortion from the House bill on health care. Let me tell you, we at "The Gods Are Bored" aren't going to think highly of this arrangement. It stinks up the joint.

But there's something that stinks worse and has stunk worse for a long, long time. It stinks so bad that I haven't heard one word about it in all these health care proceedings. My guess is that the politicians are just overlooking the stinker once again and leaving our American population at the mercy of a whole set of crippling and fatal illnesses.

Readers, have you ever sought medical care for a psychiatric condition?

If you can say no, you are one lucky duck.

Health insurance has always had two standards. There's the standard that covers every last band-aid when you fracture your femur. Then there's the standard that pays back pennies on the dollar (if at all) for your consultations with doctors and psychotherapists regarding your mental illness.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't heard a thing about coverage of mental health conditions in this current round of trying to make all Americans healthy. To me -- with all apologies to women who want to control their own bodies -- this omission even trumps the denial of coverage for abortions.

The inability to get basic insurance coverage for psychiatric illness is a huge pet peeve of mine. Why? Reasons? Hmmm. Do you want the whole list, or just the top ten?

When I was a kid, my family was impoverished by my mother's bipolar disorder. Then, as now, medical insurance didn't pick up much of the tab. I compare the severity of my mother's illness to a bad case of multiple sclerosis. Even on Mom's best day, bipolar disorder impeded her ability to function on a basic, normal level. At its worst, the illness brought great risk to her life and the lives of her family members.

But, oh well. She should have been able to snap out of it, right? After all, it wasn't like multiple sclerosis. She wasn't in a wheelchair. She could walk and talk.

I will not consider this a civilized nation until mental health issues achieve parity with all other health issues, especially where insurance coverage is concerned. Just now we live in a country where many of our mentally ill citizens turn to street pharms or liquor stores to self-medicate. People who are savvy enough to know they've got problems can't afford treatment ... or they're told to snap out of it. Or they shop around for affordable care, only to get the poorest excuses for doctors and therapists.

Right this minute ... I literally mean right this minute, a member of my family is seeing a doctor for treatment of debilitating panic attacks. How are we paying for this treatment at Chateau Johnson, where we have "full" insurance coverage? We're writing a check. And getting no reimbursement, because our insurer says we could get the health care from someone in their network.

Who will be in the mental health care network when this highly-anticipated health care bill goes to President Obama's desk? Do we know? Did anyone bother to ask?

Naah. No one bothered to ask. Stupid loonies. They should snap out of it. It's all in their heads.


Anonymous said...

I fully agree with you. As a long time suffer of generalized anxiety disorders, I can't get treatment because the payments are too high and we don't qualify for aid and don't make enough to afford insurance.

The included the abortion thing to seduce right wing conservatives to vote it in, but there's been no mention of mental health and I, too, can't consider this a civilized nation until mental health is taken into consideration.

Sarita said...

I hadn't realized that nothing is being done for mental health. That is so wrong, I can't even begin to say how wrong it is.

As for abortion -- that's a complicated matter, but I will say this: I don't believe that abortions should be done unless it is a serious medical issue. It's more than just a woman's body, it's also the life of a baby. (I do acknowledge that not everyone agrees with me about when life starts.)

On the other hand, if you don't offer abortions, some women will get them done illegally in a very unsafe manner, and you'll probably wind up losing even more lives.

So even though I think abortion is murder, I'm not sure where I stand on whether it should be covered.

I'm not trying to start an argument here, I'm just briefly stating my opinion on a very complicated matter that I'm still trying to fully understand.

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Yvonne Rathbone said...

Totally agree with you. Can't tell you how much I agree with you.

Gruvkitty said...

Excellent point. I've heard nothing about this, either.