Wednesday, September 2, 2009

AD/HD and the Role of Government

Following receipt of our August 13, 2009 e-mail blast to our 68,000 constituents titled Get Involved—Health Care Reform and Congress—13 Principles to Consider, a gentleman asked to be removed from our mailing list. He was in his fifties and has lived with AD/HD his entire adult life. He commented that to deal with AD/HD, CHADD did not need to promote “government dependence.” So, I wanted to share with you some CHADD philosophy, as articulated through our public policy platform on adults with AD/HD and children with AD/HD, as developed and approved by our volunteer leadership.

Many people with AD/HD face policy obstacles to fulfilling their life expectations. These can be government policies and these can be business policies. For example, health insurance is regulated by government but mostly implemented by insurance businesses. In health care reform, we are just trying to eliminate discrimination and policy obstacles.

For example, CHADD’s 13 principles include the following three:

1) Health care plans should require “parity” for mental health assessment and treatment. This includes non-discrimination between health conditions.
2) Health care plans must not discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions or health status.
3) Health care plans must not terminate coverage when people become seriously ill or are being treated for long-term chronic conditions and must not have lifetime caps.

People with AD/HD frequently have less generous coverage and pay more out-of-pocket costs because of discrimination. People with “pre-existing” AD/HD are frequently denied health insurance. And people with AD/HD frequently face limits on the treatment of AD/HD over time. CHADD’s objective is not to make people with AD/HD become “dependent” on the government. Our objective is to eliminate discriminatory coverage policies so citizens with AD/HD can receive the same health benefits as other citizens.

Likewise, our objective that a health care initiative must provide health care coverage for all Americans is not intended to make Americans “dependent” on government, but to ensure that all Americans have the health insurance coverage that they need.

The last two principles I will address here are: a health care initiative that allows young adults to stay covered on their parents’ plan until the age of 26, and a health care initiative that specifically covers young adults, with a particular focus on young adults with special health care needs. As the father of a soon-to-be 19-year-old son with substantial co-occurring disorders, I am supportive of CHADD’s advocacy of these principles in order to avoid “government dependence.” The education system and the vocational rehabilitation system have encouraged our son to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as his vocational future is uncertain. The major reason for this encouragement is lack of health insurance—depending on student status, at ages 18 and 22 he is on his own to locate his own health insurance. Our son and his parents reject the notion of needing SSI at age 18. He has lots of years left to develop his vocational skills and enhance his education. But we are worried about health insurance. The Ross family opposes the economic incentive to apply for government financial assistance because of the fear and possibility of no health insurance. Parents throughout the nation and in our family and social circles have this same philosophy.

So, asking the government to provide adequate non-discriminatory health insurance for all citizens, particularly those with a history of special needs is not promoting “government dependence,” but encouraging independence to pursue life choices. As CHADD CEO, I regret that we lost a constituent. But as the father of a young adult with special needs, I am glad that I work for an organization whose volunteer leadership sees the validity of these objectives.


You can read this blog and others like it at the HealthCentral website.


Jean said...

I am 57 years old and have had ADD all my life. I have health coverage through private insurance but, much to my and my husband's shock, this insurance health plan does NOT include "Mental/Nervous" coverage for my ADD outpatient office visits to my psychiatrist after the insurance agent told me and my husband it WOULD cover my ADD pre-existing condition. It was past the 30-days cancellation period when I was notified my mental health visits are denied. After speaking with the billing department at my mental health doctor's office I found out the "Parity Law of Ohio" allows coverage for AD/HD in children ONLY, ages 18 and under. That's NOT fair!! Children with ADHD/ADD grow up to be Adults with ADHD/ADD. I had mental health coverage for my ADD office visits with my former employer group plan, plus my ex-husband's group health insurance. Since then, I went through a divorce and was laid off from my job. The "Parity Law" discriminates against adults with ADHD/ADD and that should be CHANGED to cover ADULTS who have ADHD/ADD!
I support Prsident Obama's Health Care Reform policy to cover pre-existing health conditions but he never mentions MENTAL/HEALTH pre-exisiting conditions for Adults with ADHD/ADD for citizens like me?? What about "Mental Health Care Reform for Adults with ADHD/ADD"? I am scared and worried about my husband's and my future financially. My husband is on disability and I am unemployed looking for a job with good benefits. Since the health plan I bought won't cover my mental health outpatient visits I have to pay $100.00 out-of-pocket every 6weeks for my doctor to refill my medications. I'm on generic brand medications but they cost me $200.00 every two months. I'm trying so hard to find a job that's a direct hire to get the benefits. Temporary jobs pay benefits only after several months of working assignments however, not all assignments end up long term.
The Parity Law discriminates against Adults who were not diagnosed with ADHD/ADD earlier in their lives. ADHD/ADD "IS" "biologically based", it IS hereditary, those with ADHD/ADD are BORN with it. We, as children, grew up with ADHD/ADD., so WHY ... WHY is ADHD/ADD on the list of "biologically based" illnesses "ONLY" for children ages 18 and younger???! I had ADD when I was a child but back in the
1960's and
1970's very little was known about ADHD/ADD so no one talked about it.
I don't know how to get this message through to President Obama but someone's got to let him know that adults with ADHD/ADD need mental health coverage too, regardless what the 'Parity Law in Ohio' says. And if President Obama's Health Care Reform policy does allow coverage for pre-existing mental health-ADHD/ADD in Adults- I am fearful that Ohio's Parity Law will override what the President says. I'm very concerned!

Anonymous said...

I am against taking the direction of healthcare reform & leaving it in the governments hands. Your objectives are worthy but they cannot be achieved thru this legislation without seriously affecting the way this country runs as a free nation. There would be way too many regulations, restricitions, and bureacracies involved or created within that are/would be detrimental to our free socitey as we know it. America is a unique country, we stand alone from those countries lack the best care in the world in which we provide and is why many come here to the US to seek medical needs. If we are to revamp our healthcare system, it should not be torn down, scrapped and start a new socialized sub-standard brand, the current system just needs to have what's broke fixed -- that's is where CHADD should be focusing its efforts and not cherry picking one thing in a bill that will drag our country under as far as healthcare goes. Speak to those who have come here from toher countries and see what they have to say about the superiority of our system vs. their former! I have and they warned we don't want to adopt any of it.