Lawmakers say they may have to make some adjustments to the law that requires insurance companies to cover mental illness. The law says companies are only required to cover illnesses defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental disorders. Representative George Eichorn, a Republican from Stratford, says that could backfire if the manual is updated. He says they’ve adopted an association’s future changes without knowing what they are. He says that’s “a questionable practice” to delegate your legislative responsibilities to someone else. If the debate is re-opened, some want a broader list of disorders covered. Iowa Nurses Association executive director Linda Goeldner is one of them. She says some of the disruptive behaviors identified showed up in the prison system, so some of the conditions, if properly treated, could have an economic impact on the way we take care of people. Goeldner also wants the law to cover things such as Attention Deficit Disorder. She says a little bit of counseling and maybe some medication can help people return to work and not have lost days of work because of depression. But, Representative David Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant, says it’s unlikely the mental health law will be expanded in the next session. Heaton says there needs to be an election and a new group to approach the issue before something would change. Heaton says he went through the debate for several years before they finally agreed to a law. Heaton says it’s not an issue you can quickly change. He says it was very difficult to get the law they got and he says it’ll take some new faces before they can broaden the definition used in the law. Insurance companies lobbied the legislature to limit the number of mental illnesses covered under the law, arguing that some illnesses would drive up the cost of insurance premiums for everyone.
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