Autism health insurance bills should be expanded to include all mental health disorders
Michigan Senate Bills 414 and 415, which will improve private insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders, will only be helping a small sector of residents. A broader mental health parity law will finally end health care discrimination against all mental health disorders. Expanding these bills to cover all mental health disorders will benefit a very large portion of Michigan residents.
Health care providers treat many, many individuals for physical complaints who are suffering primarily from untreated mental health disorders -- and often in expensive emergency rooms. The extreme stigma associated with mental health problems continues to persist in our state/country, and the lack of adequate insurance coverage for appropriate treatment further disenfranchises these individuals. Many, many citizens of every age suffer from either a treatable brain disorder or substance abuse disorder, and most of them cannot afford to get better. These illnesses affect individual lives but also entire families as well as employers.
Almost everyone in Michigan is negatively touched by the lack of health care coverage of mental illnesses, either personally or by association. The only way to effectively help our residents is by enacting a mental health parity law in Michigan for all disorders. I encourage everyone to work to support the broadening of the coverage of the autism package.