If you are already stunned by rising Obamashock! healthcare costs, you can expect still more shocks thanks to new rules and expanded coverage for mental health and addiction programs.

A few snips from the New York Times article Rules to Require Equal Coverage for Mental Ills will explain.

The Obama administration on Friday will complete a generation-long effort to require insurers to cover care for mental health and addiction just like physical illnesses when it issues long-awaited regulations defining parity in benefits and treatment.

The rules, which will apply to almost all forms of insurance, will have far-reaching consequences for many Americans. In the White House, the regulations are also seen as critical to President Obama’s program for curbing gun violence by addressing an issue on which there is bipartisan agreement: Making treatment more available to those with mental illness could reduce killings, including mass murders.

According to administration officials, the rule would ensure that health plans’ co-payments, deductibles and limits on visits to health care providers are not more restrictive or less generous for mental health benefits than for medical and surgical benefits. Significantly, the regulations would clarify how parity applies to residential treatments and outpatient services, where much of the care for people with addictions or mental illnesses occurs.

Insurance companies have raised concerns about the expense involved in paying for the lengthy and intensive courses of treatment that the final regulations address. But experts have said the rules are not expected to significantly add to the cost of coverage because so few patients require these levels of care.

Former Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, a co-sponsor of the 2008 law, said the rules could particularly help veterans. “No one stands to gain more from true parity than the men and women who have served our country and now need treatment for the invisible wounds they have brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

State insurance commissioners will apparently have the primary responsibility for seeing that commercial insurers comply with the parity standards. They already have their hands full, however, enforcing new insurance market rules, and in some states insurance regulators are considered close to the industry.

“We need enforcement,” Mr. Kennedy said in an interview. “The notion of delegating this to the states, which are looking to the federal government for direction, is problematic.” 

Don’t Worry “Experts” Say Costs Won’t Rise “Significantly”

Note the slant by the NYT.

  • People want to curb gun violence and this will do it. 
  • It will help veterans. 
  • It won’t cost much.

Supposedly costs won’t rise much because few people demand mental health services. Well, watch what happens when you mandate expanded “free” services.

And if by some amazing miracle additional free services do not increase costs, it’s important to note that a small percentage of people are responsible for huge portions of overall costs.

Cumulative Distribution of Personal Healthcare Spending

Facts and Figures

  • Top 1% Spend Over 20% of Total Costs
  • Top 5% Spend About 50% of Total Costs

Those numbers are from a 2012 study on the Concentration of Healthcare Spending by the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM).

Obamashock! Apology

Yesterday, the president made a quasi-apology for the holes and gaps in the law.


Link if video does not play: Exclusive: Obama personally apologizes for Americans losing health coverage

After the Non-Apology

CNN discuses Obamacare: After Obama’s apology, talk of solutions and — still — the website

As the president expressed regret in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Thursday, there already were plans being developed in Congress to address the matter as well as steps the administration might take to resolve the issue without reopening the politically charged healthcare law legislatively.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there is no specific plan at the moment when asked in Atlanta on Friday what the administration was considering.

One priority, she said, is to identify those customers as well as approaches for solutions.

“But there is no specific option right now,” she said.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock