Saturday, October 04, 2008


"Tucked into the Wall Street bailout bill," the Boston Globe reports today, "was a breakthrough for the estimated 113 million Americans suffering from mental illness - a provision making it illegal for health insurance companies to discriminate against patients suffering from psychological or behavioral disorders."

One hundred and thirteen million Americans?

More than a third of the population?

The Wall Street bailout bill was sweetened with a provision that will force health insurance companies to pay for treatments they're not currently required to cover, and one hundred and thirteen million Americans could potentially take advantage of that coverage and seek that treatment.

This is why health insurance is unaffordable.

Whatever the merits of mental health treatment, there is a price to be paid for it, and that cost is about to be laid off on the people who pay premiums for health insurance.

If you're not currently one of those people, get ready to be.

Because companies will be dropping health insurance policies for their employees like a hot rock.

Every time Congress mandates health insurance coverage for a particular situation (remember the extra night in the hospital for new mothers?) rates go up.

Coverage becomes less affordable.

More people go without coverage.

More people go to the emergency room for their health care needs and pay nothing for their care.

Cost-shifting in the medical business recovers those expenses from the patients with insurance.

Insurance companies raise rates.

More people go without coverage.

The Boston Globe reports that mental health parity is a "big win" for the Kennedy family. Senator Ted Kennedy and his son Patrick have sought for a decade to make it illegal for health insurers to "discriminate" against patients suffering from "psychological or behavioral disorders."

Some victory.

This careless and hurried legislation will result in cancer and heart patients losing their health coverage because insurers have raised rates high enough to cover the potential cost of a third of the country seeking treatment for "psychological or behavioral disorders."

Exactly what is a behavioral disorder?

How many thousands of dollars does it cost to find out if you have one?

Next year, when health insurance premiums rise by twenty percent, we can all act out together. Maybe somebody will give us free drugs.

Copyright 2008