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Mental Health Insurance Gets Some Analysis

July 16, 2002

In "Mental Health Insurance Parity Is an Empty Notion" (Commentary, July 8), David Cohen and Keith Hoeller state that "no physical test detects or confirms the presence of any mental illness." I find it ironic that in the same edition there appears "The Body of Knowledge," an article about an electroencephalogram developed by Dr. Ian Cook at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, which proves just the opposite.

Cohen and Hoeller appear to be members of a small coterie that is determined to thwart effective medical treatment of the mentally ill by the medical profession. Of course, the HMO industry delights at the possibility of their success, which would allow it to escape another responsibility.

Roger West

Seal Beach

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Cohen and Hoeller's commentary is right on the money. Health insurance normally will pay for anything from a broken leg to a lingering disease, but in the case of mental health there is nothing but the lingering disease. I've seen many people go into the mental health system, but I've never seen anyone come out. If the subject runs out of money, the treatment stops; otherwise the "disease" goes on forever. I have my doubts whether these people are helped, frankly. But I don't have any doubt about what "parity" would do to the cost of health insurance.

Stanley Gainsforth

Pasadena

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