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Mental Health parity:The Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003

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    Mental Health parity:The Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003

    By Peggy Symons
    My Word

    July 24, 2003

    Nine months have passed since the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone.

    In February, "The Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003" was submitted to Congress.

    This bill would require insurance companies to provide parity, which is coverage for mental illnesses equitable to any other medical condition.

    Wellstone was a champion of insurance parity and the rights of mentally ill people to equal-treatment coverage.

    His parity legislation, even with a congressional alliance, was defeated for years.

    Left behind are Wellstone's constituents, the 20 percent of families in America struggling with the brain disorders causing severe mental illness.

    Insurance companies routinely pay out millions of dollars in unquestioned claims for preventable diseases of lifestyle caused by smoking, drinking and dietary choices.

    Yet they can limit or deny coverage for the no-choice, no-fault breakdowns in the biochemistry of the brain that cause mental illnesses.

    Advancing technologies in genetics and neuro-imaging are producing striking new finds in the genetics and biology of these common and life-shattering illnesses.

    Despite the current and clearly established physical foundations of mental illnesses, old Freudian myths blaming families remain as ghosts of shame and guilt, so entrenched that policy-makers are still dog paddling in the backwaters of 19th century pseudo-psychiatry.

    In 2003, to continue to single out mental illnesses for discriminatory barriers to newer, cost-effective treatments is neither medically valid nor morally sustainable.

    The disheartening reality, as we have so clearly seen in Tallahassee, is that politics can go one way; reason and conscience can go another.

    This is the divide where two roads have risen, choices were made, and equitable-treatment legislation has been defeated for years, both in Tallahassee and Washington.

    Mental-health parity has repeatedly fallen prey to the insurance lobby along the well-traveled roads paved with the glitter and gold of endless campaign currency.

    Equality laws are the roads less traveled. For years, these bills have been voted down -- along with the hope for healing and restored lives -- by politicians who enjoy mental-health parity themselves as fully insured government employees.

    Mental illnesses are terrible thieves of the night; untreated, they silence those whose lives they steal.

    They cause great suffering, much of it hidden by silence and shame, most of it treatable.

    Our responsibility is to speak out and to act for those who can't. It is their only hope of being heard.

    If we finish Wellstone's uphill press for insurance parity, we will widen these roads less traveled so that all who need them can walk the open roads of hope and healing with undiminished humanity.

    When mentally ill people have equal access to treatment, the roads to recovery will become the roads well traveled.

    Peggy Symons, an advocate for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Greater Orlando, lives in Chuluota.
    Copyright © 2003, Orlando Sentinel

    "When mentally ill people have equal access to treatment, the roads to recovery will become the roads well traveled."

    Sounds nearly alike emotional systems are some sort of virus that befell systems.

    While old healer methods in various cultures have the reputation to be quite fast and efficient, to get a person to feel O.K. enough and live O.K. enough,
    Western methods alike psyjunkytry partially seem to cause more problems, than were there before, as drug addictions, messing into receptor molecule numbers,
    partially organ health problems in the body due to the chemical attacks, etc.

    Apart from this, with some mental healers it was my impression,
    that the access is more something between the healer and the one wishing to be healed.
    As traditional among some healers, various do not seem to ask what they get for their work, irregardless if it is food, money, this or that,
    and just see the help as more important, than what they are getting for this.
    So the access as such seems there, if both sides agree to that they wish to cooperate for the healing.

    With those who put what they get, over the help,
    the access problem might partially be more there.
    Just there attitudes can seem partially questionable.
    That money seems rated higher than the welfare of the person seeking help.

    But I don't wish to philosophize about such now.