More Iowans would get insurance coverage for treating their mental problemsif a bill which passed the House last night becomes law. State workers andemployees in companies with more than 50 people on the payroll would becovered. Republicans insisted that only “biologically-based” mentalillnesses be covered, however. Democrats argued for covering eating disorders, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress, too. Representative Brad Hansen, a republican from Carter Lake, was the bill’s floor manager and said that would drastically increase costs.Representative Greg Stevens, a democrat from Milford, argued for the broaderapproach as his father benefitted from substance abuse treatment. He said it took four times in treatment to get it to work.Representative Bill Witt, a democrat from Waterloo, said for the past 35years, his sister has been treated for mental illness — and it wiped hisfamily out, financially. He says mental illness can strike anyone’s family.Representative Pam Jochum, a democrat from Dubuque, said the bill was “a figleaf, at best.”Representative Janet Metcalf, a republican from Urbandale, was the onlylawmaker to speak out against additional mandates for the insuranceindustry. Metcalf warned more companies will choose not to provide health care coverage to the workers– or will insure themselves to escape regulations and mandates.
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