Sunday, May 2, 2010

Glenn Grothman Attacks Bill He Could Most Benefit From

Glenn Grothman (R-Putz) shows that he is an utter and complete amoral fool. In a press release from the other day, Grothman attacks the mental health parity bill:
“During election time, it’s all about helping businesses and lowering the cost of health insurance, but when a bunch of rich psychiatrists and psychologists show up asking for a still larger paycheck, the Legislature kicks business in the teeth,” said Grothman.

Unlike most states which only require coverage for employers with 50 employees and up, Wisconsin includes businesses with as few as 10 employees. Other states also limit coverage to biologically-based conditions while Wisconsin mandates coverage for more vague situations. In one more way, the Legislature has made Wisconsin the worst place in the country to do business.

“Most people feel that mental health is an area fraught with abuse. It may be very easy for psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to justify spending additional hours with patients in this very subjective field. In many respects, this may be more of a cultural phenomenon than a medical phenomenon,” said Grothman. “While people do suffer from mental illness, in a down-to-earth state like Idaho they have fewer than five psychiatrists for 100,000 people while in a very left-wing state like Vermont they have approximately 24 psychiatrists per 100,000 persons.”
Having spent an entire career working with people with mental illnesses, as well as having some very close friends and family members that are coping with mental illness, I find this ignorant and asocial statement from Grothman to be very offensive.

Here are some facts, as presented in an article by Milwaukee NewsBuzz:
In 2008, 737 people killed themselves in Wisconsin. The state’s residents were more likely to commit suicide than people living in nearby Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan or Illinois. State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) says inadequate funding for mental health care is partly to blame. Outdated state insurance requirements have starved mental health providers of funds, she says, and prevented sick people from getting help.

But state legislation she co-authored with State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) that’s expected to become law today could help turn the trend around. It removes the old requirement, passed in 1985, that health insurance plans provide at least $7,000 in mental health coverage. A psychiatric nurse for 30 years before becoming a lawmaker, Pasch says she saw treatment cut off for many patients who badly needed it and the number of psychiatric providers in the state dwindle.

And most of the patients didn’t realize what was happening. “People assume they can have mental health services, and then they find out there’s quite a limit,” she says. The new law would throw out the old $7,000 minimum, which runs out too quickly for patients and providers both, Pasch says, in favor of a new mandate.

Grothman's argument about the cost being too much has another problem that makes him look like the tool that he is. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness the costs of untreated mental illness makes the number he is squawking about look very minuscule indeed (emphasis mine):
Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.
To me, it is rather telling that Grothman would but WMC's profit margins before human lives and society as a whole.

Jack Craver, on the other hand, has a bit different take on Grothman's foolishness.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that extra-special information from the health journal NewsBuzz.

    What is hard for me to understand is how having small businesses cancel any mental health coverage in order to avoid the mandate is a good thing.

    Perhaps NewsBuzz can do a study.