Bailout Bill Includes Cheap Prozac and Therapy
The landmark $700 billion bailout bill, which was recently passed to stave off an economic recession and save Wall Street, also includes another bonus for executives: a deal on their Prozac to help them through the mental disparity and guilt that surely must be plaguing them (right...)
By the time the gargantuan $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill was passed and signed last Friday, it contained a landmark piece of legislation that just might improve—surprise!—the quality of our lives. Dubbed the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the law forces most insurance plans to offer the same coverage for mental problems as they do for physical ailments.
No longer can insurers discriminate against people with bipolar disorder, say, or alcoholism, by providing fewer benefits than they do for broken bones and breast cancer. Longstanding restrictions on mental health and substance-abuse treatment will be lifted, ranging from higher deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses to the automatic cutoffs (typically at 30) for hospital days and therapy sessions.
A definite bonus that substance abuse issues will also be covered in this new plan; quick, where's the oxycodone?
While the bailout bill was passed within a week, this particular legislation has taken 18 years to pass; it just so happens that it finally did as the economic crisis foreshadowed dark days to come. The benefits won't start taking effect until 2010, so that leaves those eligible for the plan plenty of time to take up a new narcotics habit or compulsive behaviour in an effort to deal with the impending effects of worldwide economic fallout.
While the bill may be a boost for the dying art of long-term psychotherapy, eager analysands should take note: The law is not a mandate and therefore leaves employers free to offer no mental health or substance-abuse benefits at all. And it doesn’t apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees or to individual health plans. That leaves 31 million Americans out in the cold.
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