Research-profs22

Needs a Title

Requiring health insurance corporations to cover the cost of mental health treatments would make medication easier to access for people struggling with mental health disorders.  Those who cannot afford insurance are unable to get access to the treatment they need.  With access to get prescriptions already difficult to obtain, there must be something down for easier access for medication for those who cannot afford it.

Healthcare is something that all citizens should have access to, but not just the ability to purchase healthcare, the ability to have it automatically.  It’s true that insurance companies can cover their customers, but under what consequences?  The lower class suffers the most with mental illness because they cannot afford to get treatment, or insurance.  As individuals suffering with mental illnesses continues to increase, the number of employers who are willing to provide benefits decreases.  People who suffer from such disorder are way more likely to experience poverty or unemployment thus will not be able to afford insurance on there own let alone the help they need.  The help that individuals need is there.  In our society today there have been major advancements in medicine and technology, but the one issues is, its not easily available.  With more and more people suffering from major psychiatric disorders, employers and insurance companies are more likely to limit coverage in order to save money.  It is proven that people who suffer from mental health disorders most likely are uninsured why people who have no history of mental illness are insured.  In the article titled Insurance Coverage of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for Children and Adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics writes, “To improve mental health services, it is important to address 3 issues: access, coordination, and monitoring”.  It’s that simple.  Everyone should be able to have to have access to healthcare, coordination of mental health services which is very unorganized, and monitoring which allows patients to have direct communication with health care services.  All of which should come as a right to all citizens, with the cost covered by insurance companies who seem to only be out for money and not the consumers best interest.

Not only do patients have to struggle with the cost of health care, but they have difficulty obtaining access.  The process to access mental health treatments are long and stressful.  Seeing different doctors and social workers as medication is not prescribed by a therapist.  Most of the time the psychologist (the therapist) and the psychiatrist (who prescribes the medication) do not communicate or work together and it makes the process very difficult.  For certain mental disorders a prescription is required to get medicine such as Xanax, Adderall, etc.  What’s even more shocking is that patients may be denied a prescription based on their age.  A study was conducted to compare individual’s ability to obtain a prescription with and without a diagnosis.  The end result was that a majority of individuals without a prescription were able to have access that medicine.  It appeared that patients within an older age range were less likely to get a prescription.  The study, written by Weichers in the article Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Patients Without a Psychiatric Diagnosis, argues that, “that prescribing psychotropic medication in the absence of a psychiatric diagnosis is not uncommon, increases with age of the individual, is more prevalent in general medical practice than in mental health specialty care, and is modestly accounted for by the severity of an individual’s general medical illness or by medical indications for use.”  When further investigating the study, it is shown that the categories were broken up into medication (with six subgroups) and diagnosis. It was then proven that age had a big influence on the results.  The end results proving the hypothesis to be true.  So why is it that in our society a person’s age influences whether or not they can get a prescription, and therefore access health services.  Access should be open to all, no matter age, or financial status.

It seems ironic that those who suffer more from mental disorders are less likely to be able to get the care that they need.  As individuals suffering with mental illnesses continues to increase, the number of employers who are willing to provide benefits decreases.  People who suffer from such disorder are way more likely to experience poverty or unemployment thus will not be able to afford insurance on their own let alone the help they need.  The help that individuals need is there.  In our society today there have been major advancements in medicine and technology, but the one issues is, its not easily available.  With more and more people suffering from major psychiatric disorders, employers and insurance companies are more likely to limit coverage to save money.  It is proven that people who suffer from mental health disorders most likely are uninsured why people who have no history of mental illness are insured.  Ronald Sturm and Kenneth Wells explain in Health Insurance May Be Improving-But Not for Individuals with Mental Illness, “The number of individuals without health insurance increased from 1979 to 1997. This has been attributed to declines in the number of employers offering insurance or in lower employer contributions (resulting in fewer employees electing coverage due to higher costs. Because individuals with major psychiatric disorders are at high risk for poverty (and least likely to be able to afford plans that require large contributions) or unemployment, persons with such disorders may be particularly vulnerable to becoming uninsured”.  In today’s day and age, one would think that health care would be available to all.  It is unjust that so many individuals must suffer and cannot get the treatment they need simply because the system is failing them.  Mental health should be treated at the same importance as physical health.  The numbers are rising, and something must be done to put an end to this suffering.  Those families who are poor and cannot afford the health insurance to get better are the ones who need it most, the only thing left standing in the way is for those big corporations to start thinking for the people and less for themselves.

When insurance programs were first put into place they were based off quick and speedy recoveries.  Now illnesses are long lasting, which means so is the treatment, adding up to even higher expenses.  In the article “Issue Brief:  Access to Medications”, Mental Health America writes, “In February 2006, the federal government enacted the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) which includes several provisions that impacted Medicaid spending, such as shifting certain costs to beneficiaries and limiting coverage and access to health care services. In addition to increasing the allowed amount of the co-pay, DRA allows states to make co-payments enforceable so that providers and could deny beneficiaries services and prescription medications if a beneficiary is unable to make his or her co-payment at the time the service is rendered.”  Today, hospital visits can add charges onto a bill for the littlest things.  It is common for people to ask for a listed-out bill because hidden fees tend to be charged.  It is also possible to deny an individual of access to the treatment needed if they are unable to pay in time.  In an emergency case this can take a toll on the declining health of that person.  When it comes to mental illness, medication helps with recovery for many because of the chemical structure of the brain, but when denied patients can spiral and potentially lead to more serious and dangerous illnesses.

In addition the Deficit Reduction Act, another act put in place is the Patient Protection and affordable Care Act.  In the article “Health Reform and the Scope of Benefits for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services”, Garfield describes how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides protection for citizens in the united states to expand health insurance coverage, which includes providing mental health care for those who need.  Individuals suffering with severe disorders are required to go through external processes in order to obtain the medication needed.  So, it seems that the prescriptions are even harder to get for those who suffer even more, what is the logic in that?  The way that the protection act works is it expands the coverage for those of a certain age or certain income, so those who do not fall within the specified category are left out.  Individuals who are uninsured most likely have low incomes and will not meet to requirement to for coverage.  States are allowed to set their own criteria for what deems appropriate to receive insurance coverage, and often times target individuals with more severe situations.  The laws created do not specify specific diagnoses or prescriptions but instead generalizes them so that those with specific needs cannot get essential medicine.   According to the article “Health Insurers Still Don’t Adequately Cover Mental Health Treatment”, Bogusz explains one of the main reasons that the Affordable Care Act has failed is because, “many mental health and substance use providers do not accept insurance because they do not get paid enough by insurance companies for their services.”  Many may assume that this act was put in place to protect citizens, but really it seems to be doing nothing because there are so many hidden factors and requirements that must be upheld in order to access the care it provides.

To give a bigger picture on how much mental health treatment actually costs, it is informative to look at the salaries and costs of therapists, medications, etc. In the article “Real-Talk: Mental Health Is Too Expensive”, Fischer writes, “It costs $200 for one private session with a therapist. In other words, it’s $800 per month to maintain regular or weekly discussions with a certified professional about my mental health. That’s 20% of my monthly income — and I (a privileged white female) am a part of the upper middle class in Canada. Which means those that are not considered middle class would need to have over 20% of discretionary income every month just to seek help for their mental health”. Mental Health should be made a priority before anything else. Without adequate mental health, it can be difficult for some people to even get up and go to work. At this rate, it is nearly impossible for a low income patient to seek help regularly. Most people avoid seeking help not in fear of opening up to a professional, but in fear of not having the healthcare coverage/insurance to stay within an affordable budget. For example, some low income full-time workers only make around 400 dollars per month. If each appointment is 200 dollars, it would be impossible to have regular visits weekly, or even monthly without any guidance from healthcare providers.

Despite the fact that access to treatment should be a priority, some may argue that these medications can be dangerous if misused or taken advantage of.  Yes, these medications are drugs and can be lethal, but should the irresponsibility of others take away the needs of others?  In the article titled “Abuse and misuse of Antidepressants”, Evans and Sullivan state, “Rates of prescription drug abuse have reached epidemic proportions. Large-scale epidemiologic surveys of this under-recognized clinical problem have not included antidepressants despite their contribution to morbidity and mortality.”   So these prescription drugs are being abused more and more as time goes on, but clearly a prescription is not standing in the way of getting access to these drugs.  A prescription is supposedly put in place to ensure that the medications are not being used just for recreational or nonmedical purposes. In the article titled “Abuse and misuse of Antidepressants”, Evans and Sullivan also write, “The reasons for nonmedical use of prescription drugs are complex. However, increased availability of prescription drugs has likely contributed. In the NSDUH, past-year users of psychotherapeutic drugs are asked how they obtained the drugs they most recently used nonmedically. More than half of the nonmedical users of pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives aged 12 years or older obtained the prescription drugs used ‘from a friend or relative for free’. About four in five of these nonmedical users indicated that their friend or relative had obtained the drugs from a single doctor.”   Based off of these numbers a majority of people don’t let a prescription stand in the way of getting drug access.  So really, what is the purpose of a prescription.  Drug users and addicts will find a way to get their hands on the drugs that are meant to treat people.  The only thing the prescription does is make it even more difficult for those who suffer from mental illness to get access.  It prolongs the process and puts more stress and pain on those individuals who really need it.  Just because others make the decision to misuse prescription drugs and potentially ruin their lives, should not affect those who are seeking it purely for medicinal purposes.  These medications are meant to improve the quality of life and provide treatment, not to fulfill the dangerous and unhealthy habits that they are used for way too often.

Just as all human beings have basic rights, all human beings should have the right to healthcare.  Many may believe that there is no way to justify this as a basic human right. In the article “Healthcare is not a Human Right”, Barlow writes, “Firstly, health care is difficult to define. It clearly encompasses preventive care public health measures, health promotion, and medical and surgical treatment of established illness. Is the so called human right to health care a right to basic provision of clean water and adequate food, or does everyone in the world have a right to organ transplantation, cosmetic surgery, infertility treatment, and the most expensive medicine? Secondly, all rights possessed by an individual imply a duty on the part of others. Thus, the right to a fair trial imposes a duty on the prosecuting authority to be fair. On whom does the duty to provide health care to all the world’s citizens fall? Is it a duty on individual doctors, or hospital authorities, or governments, or only rich governments? Thirdly, the philosophical basis of all human rights has always been shaky. Most people can see some advantage in maintaining the concept of civil and political rights, but it is difficult to find any rational or utilitarian basis for viewing health care in the same way.”  This can easily be fixed by simply organizing a system and putting rules in place.  The government can just decide on who has the responsibility of providing coverage to individuals.  Because it is not beneficial to the government, there is no need for them to put any kind of system in place.  When will insurance companies insure their users.  These large companies and government are just looking for a way that they can make the most money.  Money should not be what is standing in the way of proper treatment.  It is unacceptable that health coverage is not a given right or to assume that people must pay an absurd amount of money for something that they do not have any control over.

Health care is not something that is free to provide, so the money has to come from somewhere.  Many would most likely say it is unjust to charge people for the costs of healthcare of others, but what about through tax dollars.  Our tax money goes to schools, many citizens who pay towards this do not even use the school system, so why can’t it be the same thing for healthcare?  In the article “Four Reasons to Tax the Rich for Universal Healthcare”, Faith In Healthcare writes, “ It will eliminate our current healthcare system’s regressive “tax” on workers. Every other economically advanced country pays for virtually all of their healthcare through taxes, which can and should be calibrated to increase the obligation of those who are blessed with great wealth. But, in the U.S., most workers have health insurance through their employment. That means they pay for it themselves through premiums, deductibles, and copayments—and foregone wages when their employers pay part of the healthcare cost instead of providing higher pay.”  It is unfair for someone who is poor to have to pay for a large bill completely on their own.  Taxes should go towards something that is ultimately beneficial towards everyone because everyone will get that coverage for their needs.

Diving into this mess of a broken healthcare system, it is clear to see that there are many flaws.  One would like to hope that we would be doing a better job at providing for the people in need.  For those who are poor and cannot afford insurance, the costs are too high.  And for those who are denied access to prescription medication and treatment, their condition will only continue to get worse.  Mental health is something that should be taken more seriously in today’s day and age, and something must be down to provide treatment and coverage to those in dire need.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Insurance Coverage of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for Children and Adolescents: A Consensus Statement.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Oct. 2000, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/106/4/860.

Wiechers, Ilse R. “Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Patients Without a Psychiatric Diagnosis.” Psychiatric Services, 1 Dec. 2013, ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ps.201200557.

Sturm, Ronald, and Kenneth Wells. “Health Insurance May Be Improving-But Not for Individuals with Mental Illness.” Https://Www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/,

“Issue Brief: Access to Medications.” Mental Health America, http://www.mhanational.org/issues/issue-brief-access-medications.

 Ph.D., Rachel L. Garfield. “Health Reform and the Scope of Benefits for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services.” Psychiatric Services, 1 Nov. 2010, ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/ps.2010.61.11.1081.

Fischer, Alyssa. “Real-Talk: Mental Health Is Too Expensive.” Mixed Up Money, Mixed Up Money, 23 Jan. 2018, mixedupmoney.com/blog/mental-health-expensive

“Health Insurers Still Don’t Adequately Cover Mental Health Treatment.” NAMI, http://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/March-2020/Health-Insurers-Still-Don-t-Adequately-Cover-Mental-Health-Treatment.

Evans, Elizabeth, and Maria Sullivan. Abuse and Misuse of Antidepressants, 14 Aug. 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140701/#:~:text=Antidepressants%20are%20abused%20at%20high,%2C%20and%20psychotic%2Dlike%20symptoms.

Barlow, P. “Health Care Is Not a Human Right.” BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), British Medical Journal, 31 July 1999, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1126951/.

“Four Reasons to Tax the Rich for Universal Healthcare.” FHC – Faith in Healthcare, 5 Nov. 2019, faithinhealthcare.org/fhc/four-reasons-tax-rich-universal-healthcare.

 

 

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1 Response to Research-profs22

  1. davidbdale says:

    I’m confused immediately about your Thesis, Profs.

    Requiring health insurance corporations to cover the cost of mental health treatments would make medication easier to access for people struggling with mental health disorders.

    Health Insurance Companies don’t cover the cost of anything for people “who cannot afford insurance.” I think what you mean is that health insurers should cover mental health treatment FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS. But don’t they?

    Isn’t it possible to buy health insurance that INCLUDES coverage for mental health conditions? If so, that changes the group of potential patients from “those who can’t afford insurance” to “those who cannot afford coverage for mental health treatment.” And if that’s the case, you might be arguing that ALL HEALTH INSURANCE should provide coverage for mental health conditions.

    What that means about Medicaid plans, I’m not sure. Medicaid is available to people who can’t afford health insurance coverage. Does it cover medical treatment for mental health? Is this the group of patients you’re concerned about? We can’t tell from your Introduction.

    Your proposal that “there must be something” done to help them is not specific enough for a thesis.

    Can you revise this first paragraph to make your position clearer before we proceed? I’ll return when you put this post back into Feedback Please.

    Like

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