The Rising Cost of Health Care

Mental Health Parity: Opening the Door to Patient Abuse, Deaths and Fraud

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a psychiatric watchdog group, says that due to mandated mental health insurance parity there is more widespread patient abuse and fraud, as well as increasing insurance premiums and number of uninsured.

Already, the mental health industry defrauds the government up to $40 billion per year; between 1950 and 1990, the total number of inpatient deaths exceeded the number of Americans killed in 10 wars, including World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam and Korean Wars; today, there are up to 150 restraint deaths per year in psychiatric institutions and, as The New York Times exposed, 960 people died between 1995 and 2001 in New York group homes for the mentally ill-all without accountability. On June 10, 2006 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said, “Mentally retarded and mentally ill people in Missouri have been sexually assaulted, beaten, injured and left to die by abusive and neglectful caregivers in a system that for years has failed at every level to safeguard them.”

“Mental health parity amounts to a blank check for a mental health industry that cannot police itself, frequently abuses patients and rips off the health care system. Costs of psychiatric care run a staggering 300% more than other health care services, with a greater percentage of this going to brain-damaging psychiatric drugs,” says Bruce Wiseman, U.S. President of CCHR.

In a compelling article in The Washington Times, CCHR co-founder Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, wrote, “Advocating ‘parity for mental illness’ is a hoax. The supporters of ‘mental health parity’ do not want parity for mental patients: They do not seek equal ‘legal treatment’ by legislators and courts for mental patients and medical patients. What they want is parity for psychiatrists: They seek equal ‘monetary treatment’ by health insurance companies for psychiatrists and other physicians.”

“Parity” will only saddle the nation’s companies with a financial burden in times of economic stress. President Bush told Congress, “If we restrain spending…if we react responsibly, we can return to a balanced budget.” The Congressional Budget Office estimates “parity” to cost $5.4 billion for the federal government and $23 billion for the American people over the next 10 years. It is estimated to raise insurance premiums more than 11%. Mandated mental health parity will force between one and three million people into the ranks of the uninsured. All this promises continued rising health care costs for all.

Nor will “parity” provide effective treatment. As a growing number of psychiatrists state, psychiatrists have become “drug pushers.” Today, antidepressant sales are over $12.5 billion in the U.S. America accounts for 70% of the world consumption of antidepressants, 60% of antipsychotics drugs, and 80–90% of one stimulant prescribed to children known as “kiddy cocaine.”

American psychiatrists discriminate in their treatment of “schizophrenia,” pushing drugs despite many studies showing that relapse rates have been better for non–drugged patients. In a study over eight years, the World Health Organization found that patients in three poor countries—India, Nigeria, and Colombia—fared dramatically better than U.S. patients and four other developed countries; 64% of the patients in the poor countries were without symptoms and functioning well. The difference? Only 16% of the patients were maintained on neuroleptics in the poor countries. In rich countries, the figure was 61%.

While psychiatrists cry about “reducing stigma,” it is their labels and treatment that initially create the stigma. Psychiatrists drug what they cannot even define: A commentary on schizophrenia in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II), says, “Even if it had tried, the [APA] Committee could not establish agreement about what this disorder is; it could only agree on what to call it.”

The main groups pushing for parity receive huge funds from special interest groups who profit from the drug model psychiatry is foisting off on the public. These same groups orchestrated the “anti–stigma” campaign, says Wiseman: “Who is doing the stigmatizing here? Millions of children and adults are being told there is something ‘wrong’ with their brain, though no one can prove it. They are labeled ‘mentally ill’ with diagnoses that are completely subjective and then subjected to dangerous and addicting mind–altering drugs in order to change their behavior. It’s pretty clear where the ‘stigmatization’ is coming from. It’s coming from the mental health monopoly that stands to profit at the sake of millions of Americans.”

Download CCHR’s full report on Mandated Mental Health Insurance Parity, The Vital Case Against Mandated Mental Health Parity.