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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

Today's kolumn is about health insurance mandates. Republicans believe that requiring insurance companies to cover certain things drive up the costs of health care, more than which is recovered in the end by treatment. Why don't you take a guess as to what Kersten thinks?

Wingnuttia Level: 5 (picking and choosing of facts ahead)

According to Kersten and other Republicans, mandates may add as much as 20% to the cost of health insurance in this state. While she appreciated the 48-hour mandatory health care stay that Amy Klobuchar helped fight for, she doesn't think that mandates are a good thing. Several people come up with the flawed analogy of an expensive car with lots of options: mandates are nothing more than leather seats in a Caddy, according to them. They aren't necessary. They don't add anything.

Don't they? One of the most expensive mandates according to detractors is parity for mental health coverage and chemical dependency coverage. Showing that not all Republicans are divorced from reality, parity in chemical dependency coverage is a big deal to Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad, who has battled chemical dependency himself. When these things aren't mandated, they are some of the first types of treatment to be dropped: after all, therapy is expensive.

But so are the medical conditions caused by chemical dependency, such as chronic liver problems. So are the medical conditions caused by mental health issues like anorexia. Rarely does mental illness not affect physical health. The same can be said for chemical dependency treatment. Although I don't know of many studies on this, probably because it would be very hard to set up a properly controlled study, but I'm guessing that it might be easier to treat mental health issues and chemical dependency issues before they manifest themselves as more serious, chronic physical health problems.

Even for men, mandatory maternity coverage makes sense. Why? Because insurance is a pool. If somebody's health is bad, then that means I am going to be paying more for my insurance. Pre-natal care is such an inexpensive way to prevent serious medical problems upon birth. If pre-natal care is dropped, then that will lead to more babies being born with health issues. And that means people's health insurance costs, men's and women's, will go up.

This doesn't even begin to address the human side of the equation, though. How many people have died because they didn't have access to chemical dependency treatment? How many fathers, mothers, children, and friends have been lost to suicide because they did not get their depression treated? The real human toll is even greater than what can be measured in dollars and cents.

So no, health care mandates aren't power windows or sunroofs. They help prevent higher costs down the road. They also save lives that may not be saved without the coverage. For everybody who has been afflicted with a mental illness or chemical dependency, to say that health insurance coverage for these issues is a "luxury" is completely heartless.


At 11:26 PM, July 26, 2006, Blogger Phoenix Woman said...

I'm amazed that you can stomach reading Miss Gulch's bloviatings. I can't take more than a paragraph of her at a time. I keep waiting to see her using her broom to set ablaze one of the straw men she loves to create. ("And your little dog, too!")

At 11:53 PM, July 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit that the main reason I come here is because you will read that twits column and I can get the gist without actyually having to soil my eyes on her lies.

Unfortunately I understand a little of where she is coming from... which is actually not a bad place. I grew up in a college town surrounded by Republican farmers. A group of very hard working, honest people with a hardass view of life. Don't ask for help, be responsable and go to your choice of a Catholic or Luteran Church on Sunday. These are the same Germanic-Scadahovians who would think nothing of working all night bringing in a sick friends crops.

On a microlevel, the tough love Republian viewpoint can work... just not in a major state like Minnesota or city like Minneapolis. You see the sheer pig headed stupidity in matters of transportation when legislators don't seem top see a difference between a tiny town up North and St. Paul's Midway.

Truthfully the most irritating thing about these types and well, fundementalists Christians... is there a difference between the Republican Party and the American Christian Taliban? It is the insane amount of confidence of opinion that will not bear examination or disscution of issues.

Cherry picking facts is just one of the problems. I blame it on Talk Radio. Remember those old movies with the brainwashing going on at the brave Americans? In every scene there is a loudspeaker yammering at them... the difference now is that Rightwing Whackjobs keep those speakers on... on purpose.

At 11:10 AM, July 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phoenix Woman -
Just throw water on her. That'll fix her.
Ms Anon

At 1:08 PM, July 27, 2006, Blogger lapis said...


Hey there! Don't insult the witches like that!


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