The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

OPINION Blog | The Dallas Morning News

This article makes so much sense.  Why is no one listening? 

Please read the article and let me know which side of the fence you are standing on.


Mental health coverage key
6:13 PM Fri, Oct 23, 2009

Given health care reform’s two goals — reducing costs and reducing the number of uninsured — one of the best approaches may appear counter-intuitive: Policymakers should insist upon broad mental health insurance coverage for all Americans.

Why increase coverage when one goal is decreasing costs? Because research shows broader coverage for mental health reduces health care costs overall.

Research also shows spending on mental health is a small percentage of total health care costs and does not increase significantly even with generous insurance coverage. By contrast, patients with mental illness who lack mental health insurance are heavy users of other medical services. Put those two facts together, and studies show the cost of mental health coverage is more than offset by reductions in other health care costs.

And when tax dollars are spent on mental health care, there are other offsets, including reductions in expenses for law enforcement, jails and homeless services. That’s why taxpayers in other states allocate more money to public mental health than we do in Texas. Overall, it costs them less in taxes.

Advocates who argue for more dollars to improve mental health care often come away empty-handed due to the multitude of personal beliefs about how society should deal with mental illness. But let’s put those arguments aside, because a compelling case exists for improving mental health benefits from the perspective of our taxpayer pocketbooks.

That’s why, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, we all should advocate for the easiest win-win of all in health care reform: increased coverage for mental health.

Dr. James Baker, CEO, Metrocare Services, Dallas

OPINION Blog | The Dallas Morning News

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October 27, 2009 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , ,

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