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Proposals for Mental Health Parity Pit a Fatherís Pragmatism Against a Sonís Passion
NY Times ^ | March 19, 2007 | ROBERT PEAR

Posted on 03/19/2007 7:06:19 PM PDT by neverdem

WASHINGTON, March 18 — It’s Kennedy versus Kennedy as two members of Congress from the same family face off over competing versions of legislation that would require many health insurance companies and employers to provide more generous benefits to people with mental illness.

Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island and chief sponsor of the House bill, has criticized as inadequate the Senate bill introduced by his father, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. Representative Kennedy is trying to mobilize mental health advocates to lobby for what he describes as “the stronger of the two bills, the House bill.”

Both bills seek to end discrimination against people with mental disorders by requiring insurers and employers to provide equivalent coverage, or parity, for mental and physical illnesses.

That would be a huge change. For decades, insurers have charged higher co-payments and set stricter limits on coverage of mental health services. For example, insurers often refuse to cover more than 20 visits a year to a psychotherapist. And a patient may have to pay 20 percent of the cost for visiting a cancer specialist, but 40 percent or more for a mental health specialist.

The differences between the Kennedys’ bills reflect different views about what is possible and what is politically feasible.

Senator Kennedy said he was taking a pragmatic approach and had made a number of compromises to win the support of business and insurance groups. These compromises, he said, greatly increased the chances that a bill would become law, protecting millions of Americans in group health plans.

Insurers and employers had opposed similar proposals in the past, saying the plans would drive up costs. This year, however, Senator Kennedy invited employers and insurers to help write the legislation, along with mental health groups, and they have endorsed the...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: congress; govwatch; healthinsurance; managedcare; mentaldisorders; mentalhealth; socializedmedicine
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I'll be surprised if one version doesn't become law.
1 posted on 03/19/2007 7:06:26 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Maybe if the Kennedy's paid taxes like the rest of us we could affordbetter health care.

They are great at handing out Gubmint money, why dont they pass out some of theirs?


2 posted on 03/19/2007 7:14:03 PM PDT by sgtbono2002 (I will forgive Jane Fonda, when the Jews forgive Hitler.)
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To: neverdem

Passion is usually a bad thing when it comes to public policy......


3 posted on 03/19/2007 7:37:45 PM PDT by clintonh8r (called a "KoolAid drinker" by Bill "Blowhard" O'Reilly...and proud of it!)
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To: neverdem

One of the major reasons health insurance is so expensive is that everybody is required to purchase the "luxury" version.

No room in the market for a Chevy, I guess. Only Infinitis and BMW allowed.


4 posted on 03/19/2007 7:38:45 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.)
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To: neverdem

Why is Pat Kennedy in Rhode Island?

All he had to do is wait in Massachusetts for his old man's ticker to shut down and he has himself the Kennedy inherited Senate seat.


5 posted on 03/19/2007 7:48:23 PM PDT by zendari
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To: zendari

What the mentally ill need is long term care for those who can't take care of themselves. Not this.


6 posted on 03/19/2007 7:53:17 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: neverdem

65% of all healthcare is currently paid for by the government, rapidly on its way to 70%.

They just can't quit micromanaging the tiny private bit of healthcare that is left out of the government's near monopoly, despite its lower costs, innovations and efficiencies it brings to the US and the world.


7 posted on 03/19/2007 7:58:48 PM PDT by Wiseghy ("You want to break this army? Then break your word to it.")
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To: neverdem

The only reason we have so many people seeking help for mental health is because we have kept telling these people it's ok to feel the way they do.. that many people do and medicine can help.

It's because people are coddled and told we all feel depressed when we get picked on or whatever that we have this crisis. If people were taught by their parents decent coping skills we wouldn't have this problem.

We divorces started running rampant in this country was the start of this problem. That simply told their children that you didn't have to face and overcome your problems.. you just ran away and hid from them.

When God said the sins of their parents would be taken out on their children God wasn't messing around.


8 posted on 03/19/2007 8:05:24 PM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: Almondjoy

Sigh. We have a son who has Asperger's and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has a neurological - that is physical - and not a psychological basis. It never was psychological - his brain is structured and connected differently. It's not a question of coping or parental sins.

Or take a girl who is going to die if she is not hospitalized for anorexia nervosa. She's allowed one month. Maybe only a week. She has relapses, like a kid who comes out of remission for cancer. Maybe her disease started off as emotional illness - she was trying to control her problems by not eating - but by now it's produced physical changes in her brain as well as life-threatening changes in her body. Her parents may have spent their house and their pensions trying to save her life.

Actually medicine is cheap, relatively speaking. Therapy and hospitalization are expensive.

You can argue that we just can't afford this. There used to be big state institutions where crazy people were kept and not given treatment. That might save money.

But don't blame parents who don't teach their kids to cope. My dad was a child of the Great Depression, self-reliant, learned great coping skills from his parents and a loving extended family - and he went crazy with paranoia and depression and killed himself when he was forty. If there had been good treatment back then, he might still be around.

Mrs VS


9 posted on 03/19/2007 8:58:46 PM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: VeritatisSplendor

I'm very sorry for your own personal tragedy in your life.

No matter how close these things get to us it should not allow us to blame other people for our own actions. Or blame other's for the actions of our loved ones.

I know it seems like if your father had the help he needed that he would of been better.

The fact is people all around this country kill themselves everyday even after receiving all the help in the world. That's because they make a personal choice that life isn't worth living anymore. No amount of help can ever change that decision. As one person said. You either get busy living or you get busy dying.

Since I believe in God I have to stem my idea from what I know is my basic understanding of the bible.

Either you have to believe that since suicide sends you to hell that everyone has free will and is responsible for their own choice regardless of circumstances... or... you have to believe that God puts people on this planet to commit horrible acts that in some way don't affect them(ie soulless or automatically absolved because of their forced event) in order to influence other's or make some of impact on those people around that person in order to teach some sort of "lesson".

The 2nd may seem far fetched.. but if you think mental illness has no cure and is not the fault of the individual then you have to believe the 2nd.. that there is no capacity for change.


10 posted on 03/20/2007 8:01:36 AM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: Almondjoy

You need a lesson about brain chemistry. MOST people who have severe depression, also have deficiencies in chemicals in the brain. Given chemicals, the depression can go away, and save their lives.


11 posted on 03/20/2007 11:49:18 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.--William Goldman)
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To: neverdem

Mental health, health health, justice, police, corrections, military, and schools are all part of the same institution of the state. They are nominally under Gov't control, but Gov't is merely another institution of the state.


12 posted on 03/20/2007 11:52:47 AM PDT by RightWhale (Treaty rules;commerce droolz)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife

What most people don't understand it's that their saddness is what causes the chemicals in their brain to change.

Not the other way around.

If your theory is correct then that means that God doesn't hold accountable the actions of the severely depressed.


13 posted on 03/20/2007 8:04:03 PM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: Almondjoy; Pan_Yans Wife
"What most people don't understand it's that their saddness is what causes the chemicals in their brain to change. Not the other way around.

There's a balance. In organic disease, no balance can be attained by the person w/o corrections,that can only be had through professional services. You can't hold sick folks as capable of changing the mechanics and chemistry of their diseased mind.

"If your theory is correct then that means that God doesn't hold accountable the actions of the severely depressed."

That's correct, He does not. He's looks at the response of others to their predicament of organic mental disease.

14 posted on 03/20/2007 8:18:06 PM PDT by spunkets ("Freedom is about authority", Rudy Giuliani, gun grabber)
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To: Almondjoy

WRONG. I have a chemical imbalance, which brings about my symptoms of depression. Before this imbalance began, my moods were considered "normal".

But today, if I am happily going along, life is great, and I STOP taking my medications, my mood shifts into depression. It is NOT the other way around.

This is part of my living with manic-depression. This is a life-long illness that is not going to go away. No amount of "positive thinking" or prayer is going to make it go away on its own. It is only when the chemicals in my brain are evened out that the depression goes away.

And it isn't just a simple manner of popping pills. There is much more to my mood regulation than that.

God is God and will judge as He will. I would never say that He does not. Do not put such words in my mouth.

But you are assuming that just because someone is depressed they are in the wrong and deserve the wrath of God. What have I done to deserve this? Nothing. And God did not inflict me with it. It just happened. Similiar to when others just happen to have a heart condition or any other illness.


15 posted on 03/21/2007 4:14:52 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.--William Goldman)
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To: spunkets

"There's a balance. In organic disease, no balance can be attained by the person w/o corrections..."

Really?

"That's correct, He does not. He's looks at the response of others to their predicament of organic mental disease."

That's facinating. So even if they murder they get a free pass? They automatically get to go to heaven while we all have to work for it? Could you point that out in the bible for me.. I would be facinated about how you found all this out.


16 posted on 03/21/2007 7:43:17 AM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: Pan_Yans Wife

It's because your medicine is masking the problem. Just like Ritalin and quite a few other drugs you are only attacking the symptoms.. not what's causing you to be depressed in the first place.

You mentioned earlier that before the imbalance you were considered "normal". Did you just wake up one day a manic-depressive? If so can you explain to me why how Doctors figure that can happen? One day you are fine and one day you are manic? What scientific evidence can you quote that will help me understand this?

If there is much more to your mood regulation than just popping pills then obviously it isn't just your chemical imbalance that is the problem. If it was purely a chemical imbalance then fixing that imbalance would fix your problem.

I never said you didn't think God would judge you.. I'm just trying to understand if people who have severe disorders get a free pass.. that's all.

Well some people believe that everything does happen for a reason.. so therefore you are afflicted because of some grand purpose of God. Other's will say you have inccured God's wrath and that's why you feel the way you do. While other's still will say you have afflicted yourself do to something you have done in the past that you can't get past. Other's still will say that you have been afflicted because of other's actions upon you and which you haven't learned how to cope with those actions yet. Or like you said.. life can be just one big accident.

But what I can tell you is coming from a family in which my brother is on medication. My wife has a mother who is on medication. From Doctors who said it's "passed in the gene's". I overcame severe anxiety disorder(severe shaking vomiting etc.), my wife overcame severe depression, we were able to overcome these things through the word of God and learning that our feelings weren't the most important thing in the world. When you focus on what's good around you instead of what's bad inside of you.. your whole view of the world changes and you are able to overcame much of the mental stuff you are talking about.

Whatever path you choose I wish you well.


17 posted on 03/21/2007 7:53:14 AM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: Almondjoy
Re: "There's a balance. In organic disease, no balance can be attained by the person w/o corrections..."

"Really?"

Really.

"That's facinating. So even if they murder they get a free pass? They automatically get to go to heaven while we all have to work for it? Could you point that out in the bible for me."

Luke 23:34
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.I already gave you John 9, where GOd says those who claim to know better, will be judged on their claims. God came to teach, and here's what He said in the matter.

John 9:39-41
Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"

Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

"I would be facinated about how you found all this out."

Rational inquiry.

18 posted on 03/21/2007 8:10:22 AM PDT by spunkets ("Freedom is about authority", Rudy Giuliani, gun grabber)
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To: Almondjoy

My medication is not MASKING any problem. And obviously you have not done any study of bipolar disorder.

Here is a beginning summary for you.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. But there is good news: bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

About 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6 percent of the population age 18 and older in any given year, have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, some people have their first symptoms during childhood, and some develop them late in life. It is often not recognized as an illness, and people may suffer for years before it is properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life.

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

Like other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder cannot yet be identified physiologically—for example, through a blood test or a brain scan. Therefore, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made on the basis of symptoms, course of illness, and, when available, family history. The diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV).2

The scientific evidence is found in the cycling through the symptoms. On medication, the depression or mania (in my case hypomania) goes away. Without the medication, I slip into severe depression needing hospitalization with advanced treatment that can even go beyond medications. ECT has been an effective treatment for me, as well. The ECT does "something" to the brain chemistry. It is kind of a mystery as to why it works, but it DOES work.

Psychotherapy is an important part of dealing with the illness, especially in identifying stressful "triggers" that can bring about a mood change that can rapidly evolve into more serious symptoms.

I do not believe that I get a free pass. Then again, there is nothing that I have done that deserves a pass to begin with. I'm able to function at a reasonable level. So much so, that if you saw me on the street you wouldn't know I am bipolar. Bipolar people do not stand out in a crowd.

I didn't say that life is one big accident. I believe that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. I'm bipolar, my uncle had cancer, my father is diabetic, and my friend in grade school was blind. None of us were "punished" with these. God allowed them to happen in our lives for varying reasons. That's just the way life is.

IF your depression that you overcame was CHEMICAL in nature, not just in your mind or heart, you would understand the difference that I am trying to stress for you.

Bipolar is a genuine medical condition, that can ONLY be treated. It will NOT disappear in my life. And if I am diligent enough, I will be able to control it well. If I do NOT control it, I will suffer greatly.

Even though episodes of mania and depression naturally come and go, it is important to understand that bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that currently has no cure. Staying on treatment, even during well times, can help keep the disease under control and reduce the chance of having recurrent, worsening episodes.

Lastly, I don't appreciate your tone. As I said, I'm not masking anything, God didn't punish me with this, life isn't an accident, and focusing on the "good" in life isn't enough.

Even though mania feels good for some people, waltzing through my days on a bipolar high of hypomania or even mania is NOT a walk in the park. I am not blessed with the specific high of of mania, the opposite of depression.

It isn't a matter of PRAYING more. I have prayed, and many, many people have prayed for me... to get the correct treatment, find the correct medications, meet the correct therapists and MANAGE my illness. God HAS answered those prayers.

This is the last I have to say on the subject.

Read more here: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm

Good day.


19 posted on 03/21/2007 8:51:22 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.--William Goldman)
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To: spunkets

Actually you are quoting scripture for your own devices.

None of those quotes mean what you think they say.

The first is a claim of forgiveness upon all people. Jesus basically saying that all sin is forgivable if you ask for the forgiveness.

The second I'm not sure how that relates at all.

The third can actually be a claim of not knowing Christianity as well. You could use it as assuming one doesn't know the different between right and wrong.. however few mentally ill people actually have that distinction. Those who are stricken with anxiety or depression still understand the difference between right and wrong. Even psychopaths even know the different between right and wrong. They just don't care.

You better come up with better stuff than that.


20 posted on 03/21/2007 8:24:59 PM PDT by Almondjoy
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