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25 January 2011 @ 11:08 pm
The State of Health Care  
I am somewhat disappointed that in the wake of the shooting in Arizona, more attention has not been paid to mental health services. Civility in public discourse and gun control are fine things, but I would argue that the epidemic of un- and under-treated mental illness is a greater issue to society as a whole. We all know someone who has suffered for the lack of appropriate counseling or medication. Really, to be honest, you are really lucky if you only know one person so affected.

Mental health parity laws are a step in the right direction, but is only the smallest step since it still does nothing for the uninsured. Universal health care would do a great deal toward resolving the problem, but since that is unlikely to happen in the near future, we as a nation need to think seriously about addressing the problem with an interim solution. Access to appropriate pharmacological and cognitive therapy would prevent so many "downstream" social ills - how much homelessness, abuse, and crime is due to untreated mental disorders?

*sigh* But I suppose similar arguments could be made for better access to prenatal care, preventative health care, improved health education, and access to urgent care through non-ED locations. I'd happily make those arguments, but I'm pretty sure they'd be wasted air too. Again, I really believe that some level of universal health care would prevent so many social ills and, though expensive to implement, actually save money in the long run. Education and early treatment would lead to lower medical costs per patient, fewer ED visits, and just generally improved public health. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. Insert your objections about long lines for health care and substandard care - I've lived in countries that had universal health care and know lots of folks who have been their their whole life - minor delays and selected non-covered services pale in comparison to the widespread utter lack of medical care we have here. Something > Nothing.)

It's not even just wishful thinking - they ran a study on it in Madison where they gave free healthcare to ED patients who did not have insurance and then tracked the costs pre-and post-enrollment in the program. Even with covered medical visits, counseling, education, and medications, it was cheaper to provide those services than to pay for the ambulance rides, ED visits, and hospital stays that otherwise were absorbed by the hospitals and local health services.

Again, I really wish I ruled the world: Universal health care, active campaigns to destigmatize mental health conditions, radically improved public health education... 

Ack, This is not a new rant. *sigh* Why won't the Powers That Be give some Powers to ME? 
Current Mood: angryangry
jtdiiijtdiii on January 26th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
Because there is no profit in it for the ones who are influencing our leaders.

And because those same politicians have somehow convinced the poor and under educated that they will someday be rich and thus should they fight against taxing the rich now.
eithni: do I need to kill you?eithni on January 26th, 2011 07:42 am (UTC)
True. Depressing, but true.
Kareinakareina on January 26th, 2011 06:30 am (UTC)
Why won't they give some powers to you? Because you haven't asked for it by the rules of their game. I'm not clear on the details, but I think it involves becoming active in a political party, working on the campaigns of others and making cash donations until you've got got enough folk who will then contribute to your campaign and then putting all of your time and effort into brainwashing the masses into voting for you.

Alas, I also gather that by the time one has played that game long enough to actually have a chance to win one has also forgotten any world-improving goals one had planned to implement when one obtained the power, and instead plays to win for winning's sake alone...
eithni: do I need to kill you?eithni on January 26th, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
*sigh* I've put in some money from my pocketbook and lots of miles on my feet campaigning for causes I believe in, but to no avail. I even applied for a job when Obama opened up a call for applications post-election. No dice. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, but not to sell my soul to the political machine.
arebekah: Elephant 2arebekah on January 26th, 2011 06:59 am (UTC)
Does ED = Emergency care of some kind?
eithni: PharmDeithni on January 26th, 2011 07:12 am (UTC)
Emergency Department. At some point (at least in medical coding/notes) ER became ED. Not to be confused with ED = Erectile Dysfunction, of course. :p
whymcwhymc on January 26th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
I'd been wondering how many cases of erectile dysfunction both needed emergency room care and benefited over the long term from counseling...

As for why... ideology trumps facts. Or, perhaps worst, a desire to see the country in crisis because crises can be 'useful' trumps any desire to actually fix problems.
eithni: do I need to kill you?eithni on January 26th, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
1) prolly more than you'd think


2) yeah. I *know* that. I just wish it were not true.
frausenseifrausensei on January 28th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
Or ED = Emotionally Disturbed, which is what I thought you meant at one point.
lrdfaelanlrdfaelan on January 26th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
I know this isn't from the Government but Chas Palomanteri (sp?)the actor has started a group called No Kidding Me Too. Trying to "stomp the stigma" of as he terms it mental "dis-ease".

Albredaalbreda on January 26th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
Preach it, sister! (Too bad we're all in the choir...)

One thing that I try to do with folks (re the mental health thing) is talk about how the Cartesian Split *isn't*. Mental illness IS a physical illness, and we have to stop treating it as something different!!!

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a low-grade bipolar condition, and have had post-partum depression as well, just to be out about it. Not great, but both manageable with therapy and medication. Without treatment? Oi.
Amanda Marksdottir: Romeragnvaeig on January 27th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
I vote for you for Surgeon General.

I've lived in countries with and benefited from universal health care. It is my fervent hope that, like with social security, we're just a few decades behind Germany. Who universalized health care before 1900 IIRC, admittedly, but I can hope.
Roxelanaroxelana on January 27th, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
Socialism in an ideal state means that everyone gets treated equally as long as they are all performing to their abilities. But reality is that there is no perfect state. Everybody wants something.
I paid 200 for my perscriptions last night - I don't even have to wonder why I'm always broke.
eithni: PharmDeithni on January 27th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
I'm not a proponent of pure socialism as a general social/economic system, but there are a number of things that are not efficient to be left to the free market system - and healthcare is one of them...
frausenseifrausensei on January 28th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
Said Paul Wellstone: "If you want real welfare reform then you focus on a good education, good healthcare and a good job. If you want to reduce poverty in our country then you focus on a good education, good health care and a good job. If you want to have a stable middle class, you focus on a good education, good healthcare, and a good job."

Did you catch Mikey's post about how American culture is basically Calvinist in assuming that people deserve what they have (or don't have)?
eithni: greeneithni on January 29th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, he posted that a day or two later and I thought it was brilliant.