by Mario Rizzo
People quite rightly complain about the cost of health insurance and bemoan the fact that, for some, insurance is out of financial reach. The following article from the New York Times points to a factor that no doubt is illustrative of one source of the problem. This factor is just one of the mandates the Congress or individual states have created.
Every year, state and federal governments spend more than $15 billion, and insurers at least $5 billion more, on substance-abuse treatment services for some four million people. That amount may soon increase sharply: last year, Congress passed the mental health parity law, which for the first time includes addiction treatment under a federal law requiring that insurers cover mental and physical ailments at equal levels.
Many clinics across the county have waiting lists, and researchers estimate that some 20 million Americans who could benefit from treatment do not get it.
Yet very few rehabilitation programs have the evidence to show that they are effective. The resort-and-spa private clinics generally do not allow outside researchers to verify their published success rates. The publicly supported programs spend their scarce resources on patient care, not costly studies (Emphasis added).