Health Care Reform

A Health Care Reform editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (“Then vs. now”, 09/30/07) bemoans the fact that “Health insurance premiums grew by 78 percent between 2001 and 2007.”

 

Meanwhile, the Missouri Department of Mental Health budget grew by 157 percent between 2001 and 2007, to over one billion dollars this year.

Per the Post-Dispatch’s own research (“Broken Promises, Broken Lives”, 6/11/2006), “Mentally retarded and mentally ill people in Missouri have been sexually assaulted, beaten, injured and left to die by abusive and neglectful caregivers in a system that for years has failed at every level to safeguard them.”

 

Looking at the whole picture, one could easily come to the conclusion that we got off lightly with only a 78 percent increase in health insurance premiums, while mental health fraud and abuse continues to rise as mental health care funding increases.

 

With mental health treatment costing up to 300% more than general medical treatment, spiraling costs are imminent. An increasing percentage of mental health care costs go toward psychiatric drugs that can damage the brain and physically harm patients. Spending on drugs generally is rising at three times or more the rate of inflation.

 

Efforts by the mental health industry to require insurance companies to pay mental health care benefits at the same level as for physical health care (called “mental health insurance parity”) are one significant reason why our health care system is in jeopardy. Mandated mental health parity is an effort by the mental health industry to have governments force insurers, employers, consumers and taxpayers pay for a fraudulent and abusive service they will not buy of their own free will. It drives up the cost of insurance and has skyrocketed the number of uninsured.

 

Read the CCHR publication WHAT DOES MANDATED MENTAL HEALTH PARITY PAY FOR? Skyrocketing Costs, Increased Stigma, More Child Abuse & Fraud at http://www.cchr.org/index.cfm/17106.

 

Despite mounting evidence of a link between antidepressants and suicide/violence, psychiatrists indiscriminately prescribe the drugs to millions, based on subjective diagnoses made without any physical tests — such as blood tests, brain scans or X-rays — and try to obscure the dangerous side effects of the drugs in order to protect billions in profit from drug sales.

 

CCHR is calling on:

 

1) The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to place in a prominent box on both the Drug Information Packaging and bottle, a statement that consumers have the right to report any adverse psychiatric drug reaction to the FDA (MedWatch), and

 

2) All state governments and the federal government to recognize the dangers of psychiatric drugs and to start channeling funds away from unworkable and dangerous psychiatric methods and into medical programs that:

  • help wean a person safely off psychiatric drugs, and
  • help mentally disturbed individuals with effective medical/alternative, non-psychiatric programs.