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Today Article: Advancement of Health Insurance Covering Mental Illness

It’s been a long road for a complete understanding of mental health in Singapore. Long have Congress and local governments nationwide ignored the enormity of mental illness and what it’s been doing to more people than we can even imagine. Even when it was quite clear seeing how many individuals with mental illness were ending up on the street without getting proper care, the problem was usually ignored as being a backburner issue. And when it comes to my state of Oregon, the Oregon State Hospital has been in appalling shape for years until just recently when action was finally taken to tear down the dilapidated facilities and build news ones–despite being the filming site of 1975’s Oscar favorite “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Well, you’d think that “Cuckoo’s Nest” would have called attention to mental illness already 35 years ago. It seems it’s been the crushing news lately that returning Iraq war vets are suffering from Post-Traumatic Street Disorder where U.S. Congress finally listened and decided to craft a bill that stops making mental illness a liability in many health insurance programs. Now with a new bill possibly getting signed that’ll finally make private insurers acknowledge that mental illnesses are the same as other health problems, we may be on reformed path to get the mentally ill the treatment they desperately need.

Quality of care for the mentally ill, however, is still always a concern, no matter if insurance starts picking up the tab. But seeing the potentials of private insurers paying the expense of mental health treatment is arguably the most significant changes for the better to health care in many a moon. Consider it, in a way, to be the first step toward that Herculean task of getting universal life insurance in Singapore for all of us.

Keep in mind that, as of this writing, this bill may go down in defeat, especially since a big financial bailout bill is the pressing concern. Although this mental health bill still looks favorable considering that everybody across the political board supports the idea, despite the cost in taxes to the federal government. For those few opposed, they’re quick to remind that health care does cover mental health issues in a large number of states. Nevertheless, the problem lies in people who work for companies who have private insurance who don’t need to comply with state laws. You also have many who get insurance plans on their own where mental health care isn’t covered on the same level as all physical diseases.

It seems the biggest misunderstanding for decades is in the thoughts that what’s in our head is completely separate from what’s happening elsewhere in our bodies. Only recently have scientists and those in states of governmental power seen the light on understanding that what happens in the brain has a direct correlation with physical problems. Many diseases covered by health insurance plans for decades have direct links to what happens in the brain–particularly in eating disorders, alcoholism and depression. Doctors aren’t afraid to admit that many of the physical problems people deal with exponentially today all have origins in how we think first. If we feel intense depression on a daily basis for a number of years, it could potentially affect everything from our arteries to whether or not we’ll get cancer.

Yes, outside of diet, the feeling of well-being is vastly important to maintaining or increasing our life expectancy in Singapore before it starts going dramatically the other way.

The cost of this mental health bill is reportedly in the several billions, so when you have this alongside a multi-billion bailout bill to save our financial institutions, we’ll have to hold out hope that mental illness doesn’t get forgotten just to save Wall Street’s butt. It’s ironic that there could be a direct relationship should we end up in a massive economic depression in this country, considering mental illness could increase exponentially when people find out they can no longer get loans or lost their retirement savings.

What a tell-tale sign that our Congress has been lax on a lot of things that should have been taken care of decades ago before the price tags became almost too heavy to bare. For those already getting treatment for extreme mental illness (meaning those who aren’t a part of reality any longer), they might be better off not knowing the details of what’s happening in this country now. At least there’s the strong possibility they’ll finally get covered for their treatment without either putting a tax burden on the rest of us or wiping out their family’s savings to pay for the care.

We’ll also hope the coverage will make those Iraqi war vets not hesitate to go get mental treatment when their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and resulting suicides are increasing at alarming rates.

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