Thursday, July 10, 2008

Landmark Medicare Bill Passes Senate; Removes Federal Discrimination Against Mentally Ill

Yesterday, the US Senate passed, by a 69-30 vote, a bill that would finally remove the anachronistic and discriminatory "brain tax" from Medicare.  Elderly and disabled on Medicare have had to pay a 50% copay for outpatient treatment for mental illness since Medicare started in 1965.  Any other type of illness requires only a 20% copay.


But mainstream media is largely ignoring this historic success in the fight against this discrimination.

This blatantly discriminatory and stigmatizing financial penalty against America's seniors has long resulted in undertreatment of mental health problems, often leading to even higher costs for other somatic conditions due to self-neglect.  Finally... a Medicare parity bill that passed both House and Senate!

I did a search on Google News for "medicare bill +mental|psychiatric" and "medicare bill -mental|psychiatric" to determine the number of articles in the past month on the Medicare bill which either did or did not mention the words "mental" or "psychiatric."


6,466 Articles . . . . . DO NOT mention the bill's mental health provisions

   408 Articles . . . . . DO mention the bill's mental health provisions


Please write to these article's authors and tell them to get a clue.  And let Bush know that you don't want him to veto the bill (McCain has already said he would have voted against it).  

This is much bigger news than the annual passage of a bill to block cuts in Medicare physician (and all other providers, BTW, incl. social workers, psychologists, etc) fees.