Saturday, March 08, 2008

Progress on parity

According to a press release from the Eating Disorders Coalition, eating disorders "were front and center" in the debate that ended with the House passing its own version of a mental health parity bill, 268 to 148. The House version is much better than the Senate version passed last year, but it's unlikely to be the one passed in the end.

Still, the fact that we're even talking about having a mental health parity bill in this country just blows my mind. It's about goddamn time.

I love this quote from EDC executive director Marc Lerro: “We made our points so often that members of Congress started making our points for us. In committee meetings, Republicans and Democrats alike described how parity could affect people with eating disorders.”

Now that's activism at work.

Another good quote comes from David Wellstone, son of the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. He felt the Senate bill didn't go far enough and refused to let it be named after his father, saying, “My dad always believed that you can’t leave people out." The Senate version would not protect people with eating disorders to the same degree as the House version.

But it's a start.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

SOTD: Anti-depressants don't work?

Today's Study of the Day comes to us courtesy of the U.K.'s Hull University, where an analysis of 47 separate trials purportedly showed that most treatment with SSRIs is little better than a placebo.

Here's the paragraph that caught my eye:

The study has credibility because it has included data which drug companies had chosen not to publicise possibly because it was less favourable than they would like, and it suggests that millions are needlessly taking powerful and potentially dangerous drugs.

I don't know if this is true, but it's a hell of a story if it is. Would it surprise anyone to know that drug companies withhold information?

On the other hand, I know people whose lives have been saved, literally, by meds for depression. I would hate to see a wholesale rush to drop them.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What will it take to change the system?

This is a question I ask myself a lot. What will it take to create a health care system that truly cares for all people, sick and well, young and old, healthy and not?

It seems self-evident to me what we need. But my eyes were opened a bit about the way the rest of the world sees it when I sat in on a class at the Center for Patient Partnerships here in Madison.

The guest speaker was a woman who's worked in health care policy at the national and state levels. She explained that in order to change policy, there must first be some shared perception of a problem. And she pointed out that for those who have great health care (say, our elected officials), there is no perception of a problem and so no incentive to work toward change.

Which makes it all the more clear to me that we need to raise our voices around inequities in the health care system. Add your story here if it's appropriate. If it's not, please send it to me. I think maybe we need another blog where we can collect stories of the inequities of the health care system--and then send them to every member of Congress as often as possible.