Mental Health Parity Would Still Leave Millions Uninsured
Since Republicans are usually so averse to adding any more government mandates onto the business community, we were surprised to see President George W. Bush come out in favor of mental health benefit parity legislation.
The temptation is to say, “It’s about time.” After all, it just isn’t fair to have health plans treat coverage for treatment of mental illness differently from any other health problem.
However, while it is easy to approve unfunded government mandates–they are politically popular, but require no direct taxpayer funding–it is short-sighted to ignore the economic and social consequences of such actions by Washington.
Employers are already struggling with soaring healthcare costs, particularly for prescription drugs, and forcing health plans to upgrade their mental health coverage will make those expenses that much harder to contain. After all, there is no such thing as a “free” health benefit.