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mental health parity - Ilya Shlyakhter (notestaff) - letters to editors
March 17th, 2005
11:25 am

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mental health parity
Food for thought

Presumably, the reason insurers won’t pay for treatment of "non-biological" illnesses such as eating disorders is that these illnesses are seen as "the patient’s fault" — indicative of a lack of character or willpower ["Into Thin Air," News and Features, March 11]. But many "biological" illnesses can result from smoking, bad diet, and lack of exercise. In fact, simple guidelines exist for reducing the risk of biological illnesses via healthy living; no such guidelines exist for reducing the risk of mental illness. So if insurers cover physical illnesses to which the patient may have contributed, they should certainly cover mental illnesses, over which the patient has much less control.

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