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Health Coverage

April 18, 1999

Prejudice and ignorance regarding mental illness still continue to rear their ugly heads. Perhaps your letter writer ("Mental Health Bill," April 13) would feel a little differently if he or a family member was diagnosed with cancer, diabetes or some other life-threatening disease and was told that he could only see a doctor 26 times a year, and had to pay for his own insulin, chemotherapy or painkillers. Perhaps he would feel differently if it was his spouse or child hearing voices telling her to kill herself or debilitated by depression.

Mental illnesses are just that: chronic illnesses that can be relieved and their symptoms even eradicated with modern drugs and regular physicians visits. The mental health parity bill (SB 468) will save money; it will help keep employees working and families intact.

DIANE ELLIOTT, Rancho Santa Margarita

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