As a society we must move beyond the idea that mental and physical health are somehow separable. Mental illnesses have organic causes, similar to hypertension and diabetes. We also know that untreated mental illness makes other disease outcomes worse and that chronic disease can greatly increase the likelihood of having mental illness.
A complaint-based reporting system has not led to the needed systemic change. Relying on vulnerable people to advocate for themselves in a complicated and ever-changing market is both unreasonable and unjust.
For a practicing physician, there are few things more tragic than watching a patient who is spiraling into crisis be denied mental health care coverage. The time has come to require — and enforce — coverage parity for mental health treatment.
Diane Horvath-Cosper, Baltimore
The writer is a physician at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.