There’s a chance the 2000 Iowa Legislature will force insurance companies tocover mental illnesses, just as they do physical illnesses. RepresentativeBetty Grundberg, a republican from Des Moines, is sponsoring a bill shesays will bring “mental health parity” in the insurance industry.Grundberg’s bill would force insurance companies to pay the cost of treatingillnesses like schizophrenia, depression and autism. The bill, however,does not cover all mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.Iowa Psychological Association president Dr. Deems Ortega says the billfalls far short, but his organization believes it’s a good first step.Opponents argue businesses and individuals will be forced to paydramatically larger health insurance premiums.Supporters of the bill say forcing insurance companies to cover mentalhealth care saves society in the long run, as many people who can’t affordthe right “meds” end up in government programs. Carol Porch of Iowa Citybattles chronic depression, but she says with the right medication, she’sable to live a productive life. Porch pays two-hundred dollars each month for her medication.
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