Smorgasbord: Special Edition

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The bill for Mental Health Parity was passed in the House of Representatives. This is wonderful news for those of us with mental illness- indeed for all of us. This is also about damn time already.

I don't understand why, in today's day and age, mental illnesses are somehow considered separate from all of the other illnesses of the human body. Last time I checked, the brain was still part of the body. It's true, mental illness have a social construct, but so does every other illness out there.

Reclassifying mental illness as a brain disease on par with all of the other diseases out there (like cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, jock itch) means that insurance companies would have to begin to pay for coverage of these illnesses. This costs money- as I well know. Mental illness can be difficult and expensive to treat. But so is cancer. We could fault smokers for developing lung cancer and then refuse to pay for treatment. It's their fault. If they didn't have an oral fixation, if they weren't so spineless when faced with quitting, then they wouldn't have developed cancer. So screw them. Why should we pay for their treatment?

Because they're people. And you don't choose cancer.

Just as you don't choose anorexia. Or depression. Or schizophrenia.

In a press release from the Eating Disorders Coalition, director Marc Lerro said this:

Eating disorders were front and center in the debate leading to yesterday’s passage of mental health parity in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed the parity bill by a vote of 268 to 148.The House version of a national mental health parity bill includes broad definitions of mental illness that would include eating disorders. A Senate bill passed last year offers fewer protections but is likely to become the final version that Congress will send for the president’s signature. The Eating Disorders Coalition has supported both House and Senate versions, but prefers the House bill.

Yesterday’s action in the House marks the first time in 12 years that mental health parity has been brought to a vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to schedule a vote, reversing the long-held opposition of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The EDC was in the front row during yesterday’s rally at the Capitol.

There is still work to be done. But this is a start.


Sarah said...


Faith said...

There is still work to be done, indeed. But I'm looking forward to the passage of this bill. I'm also not looking forward to whether or not I get a parity diagnosis when I get a new therapist...

Katy said...

Oh, I dunno, I definitely think people with mental illnesses chose them. Ya know, go through the DSM, pick whichever one looks most interesting, try it on for size. Just for kicks. (Or attention or because of laziness or vanity or innate badness or or or or...)

A great quote, from the Bush administration on this bill, which they opposed: “[the bill] would effectively mandate coverage of a broad range of diseases.”

Wow, better veto it then. Wouldn't want health insurance companies actually having to pay for medical care now would you?

carrie said...


*cue Handel's Messiah*


Sigh, indeed, my dear.


Not that I needed more evidence that our current executive is a wanker, but I think this pretty much clinches the deal. *Especially* since we're spending so much money ($12B per MONTH!) on an oh-so-effective war in Iraq.


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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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