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Healthcare Reform and Mental Illness

While the health care reform may not be what is best for the country as a whole, or more specifically what it thinks it wants, it does have input that will benefit those suffering from mental illness, the president of the American Psychiatric Association Alan F. Schatzsberg MD says. This help is still somewhat illusory however, and is spoken about in broad terms such as helping sufferers find help when they are off work, and when they otherwise may need help in being insured.

Specifically, a letter was written by the president of the APA to president Obama in March requesting two provisions in the reform package that would benefit those suffering from mental “illness and substance abuse and in extending this coverage to the plan within five years.”

Nami (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is closely watching health care reform as it is unfolding. On their site, in initially explaining how previous to the new laws, mental illness and was looked upon, and comparing it to the future, they are hopeful about the new changes. Out of the “46 million of uninsured people” , many were mentally ill, or on the brink. Specifically, pre-existing conditions prevented many of them from getting insurance, or being denied coverage for specific treatment.

Specifics relating to PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) Are: Jan 1, 2014, Insurance cannot be denied to those with a pre-existing condition, nor past history of medical illness; September 23, 2010, youngsters are allowed to stay on parent’s plans until the age of 26. The nice part of this, they don’t have to live at home for this part of care to take effect.

They may be away at school, live in halfway houses, or have their own apartment. They may even be married, but their spouse or their children are not part of the insurance plan. Of course the exclusion plan will not begin until 2014. And of course, the lifetime limits to exclusive plans are done away with since September 23, 2010, although the annual limits for group plans won’t start until January 1, 2014.

Now lets be realistic and say it like it is: Mental health is first of all a community priority, and why shouldn’t it be. This is where drug abuse – which is rampant everywhere – and mental illness plays out. When victims of either are untreated and are allowed to roam freely, the crime rate soars. Not necessarily by the mental ill themselves, but crimes against them, although criminals no doubt are mentally deranged to some degree.

Mental illness, drug addiction, and crime cannot be totally separated. They need each other. And of course that says nothing complimentary about mental illness and especially not at the time when a campaign is out to make it more socially acceptable. Well the truth is, it is not socially acceptable, nor should it be. Yet, a society that accepts it as part of its own and works toward eradicating it, or at least reducing its impact on socieity, is to be commended. (What pray tell me, is socially acceptable about maniacial behavior or sexual promiscuity that the poor victims of bipolar often fall into?)

Health as a topic is an all consuming one and that fact alone makes mental health an issue. When we get down to analyzing all the reasons and objections and outright craziness done in the name of health, we must conclude that to take up every waking moment worrying, arguing over, and defending ourselves against attacks of others who deny our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have to somehow know we have missed the boat and are on some insane planet on the way to nowhere.

Therefore, mental health, conclusively, is a condition all should strive to achieve. And it will best be done by those who recognize their own failings while still having enough of their faculties to recognize their mental illness, however slight. There are no clear demarcation lines, although those dealing in health issues and insurance claims and making laws must continue try to delineate between who is and who isn’t. Writers have no such problems. They can boldly ask, now tell me about your crazy times.

Therefore, the new health care reform may be helping best by opening the door, at least a crack, toward more enlightenment and discussion on the subject. And who best knows the subject, than those who have had it, who are brought down by its actions, and by those who have lost jobs because of its influence?