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Ego Dystonic Obamacare

about your mental illness.........

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

There's an old Vaudeville joke that goes like this. A man walks into a restaurant and asks the waitress how much for a steak dinner. He's told $20. He says the place across the street offers the same size steak for $5, and the waitress tells him to eat there. He says he can't, they're out of steak. And the waitress says when they're out of steak, they offer it for $5.00 as well.

Let's update it. A man is talking to an Obamacare rep. He hypothesizes a scenario and asks how much the new system insurance would cost. He's told, and he pounces, saying his current insurance is cheaper. The rep asks how often he's used that insurance. Not much, he says, I'm young and never sick. Well, the rep reminds him his insurer has upped the rates every year and has sometimes canceled customers when they had substantial need. Stuff Obamacare prevents, and this atop covering more goods and services. Rimshot. I'm here Tuesdays to Saturdays, two shows on Sunday. Bring the wife.

You're right, it's not even as funny as the original weak joke, but as the Obamacare circus continues, we need to keep things in perspective. It doesn't affect me, so I have no horror tales, but I'm seeing daylight in various stories. Although the Affordable Care Acts federal website was a mess, and remains a slightly lesser mess every day, the state websites seemed to work well. California and New York's were solid, and so seemingly has been Colorado's, which I visited and found easy.

Despite being assured they could keep their current insurance by Obama himself, about 3% of Americans apparently cannot and have had their current policies cancelled. Not by the government, but the insurers who say it's because of Obamacare. Of the three percent, the following: A significant number have been healthy and never placed any strain on their policy, so they've not faced cancellation ever, which precedent shows their particular insurers would do and have done.

Atop that, many of the policies at issue are garbage, actually covering little and with the wiggle room so beloved by insurers. Third, most policies have gone up yearly of late, and near all more than Obamacare's initial increase, if any. Further, Obamacare covers far more than the policies at issue, and customers would be far better off in time of need than with their current policy.

Here in Boulder the Damned, there is concern that mental health has not hitherto been included to the level it needs to be, and gratefulness that Obamacare does include it. Insurers can't decide that depression will not be covered but high cholesterol will be, as the Daily Camera remarked.

I'm of two minds. First, mental illness most assuredly ought to be covered and dealt with. But, second, I am not convinced there is agreement on what mental illness is, but I am convinced there is pressure applied to give it the widest possible definition, perhaps to a ridiculous extent. This would benefit pharmaceutical companies who make the pills and the numerous doctors and therapists who all too often seem to prey upon the merely unhappy.

Because of the recent and god awful flooding, there are many people in Boulder County who are at various levels of stress and depression. But recently there was an attempt in the newspaper to suggest that people who have not suffered actual trauma might, somehow, have post traumatic stress syndrome and be in need, perhaps covered by the new world of health insurance. And that's where the problems arise.

Recent care for and classification of mental illness provides an alarming history. When confronted a few decades back with evidence that said homosexuality was not a disease, as official psychiatry then claimed, the couch therapists were in a bind because much of their income was derived from people dealing with their homosexuality. If not a disease, insurance would not cover it. What to do? Achieve by a near Mormon epiphany the revelation of an entirely new type of disease: ego-dystonic. An ego dystonic disease is one if the patient thinks it is one. Eh? So the gays who enjoyed therapy could continue paying the shrinks and those who thought being gay was normal for them and ought not to be a disease much less a crime were relieved not to be considered mentally ill. Which they are not.

But now, after the flood, those not actually traumatized might be classified as somehow suffering a post trauma syndrome and be eligible for therapy. I'd have hoped Obamacare changed all that.