treating mental disorders to lower medical costs: I like the conclusion

July 9, 2007

The APA has argued that when you treat mental disorders, you don’t need to spend as much on physical healthcare, for a variety of reasons.

The linked article contains references to a bunch of studies, but is remarkably not like an APA paper in that it doesn’t mention and address any studies that were not favorable to its conclusion (something you have to do in science). It’s not possible to tell from reading it what the obstacles are to implementing better psych treatment, and it doesn’t seem targeted – i.e., it doesn’t mention and probably doesn’t address the concerns of the people it’s aimed at.

I really wish it did. I would much rather be writing a blog entry about how APA was carefully attempting to address the issues involved in convincing insurance companies (hospitals? other healthcare providers? the government?) to offer cheaper/better mental health treatment.

It’s so easy to do advocacy focused on showing you’re right, and so hard to do advocacy focused on removing the obstacles preventing your target audience from doing what you want them to do. But you don’t have to go all out to acknowledge why they aren’t taking your position, and to address those reasons.

I do think APA is probably right – and even if they’re not, I believe that appropriate mental health care (and physical health care) should be available to everyone, everywhere.

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medicare co-pays: a step toward insurance parity

July 4, 2007

Senators John Kerry and Olympia Snowe have reintroduced a bill that would make Medicare mental health co-pays equivalent to non-mental health co-pays, instead of two and a half times as much. See Shrink Rap for details and please write your senators.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent my senators.  If you agree with what I say, please feel free to use it yourself, editing as much as you like.

I am asking you to please support the Medicare Mental Health Copayment Equity Act of 2007 (S.1715).  Non-discriminatory coverage for mental disorders benefits everyone, both by reducing unnecessary human suffering and by reducing the financial and social costs involved when these disabling medical problems are left untreated.  Equating co-pays is a small step toward non-discriminatory coverage, and I ask you to contribute to that by supporting this bill.