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President Barack Obama and the Democrats’ Deception on Health and Mental Health Care: the Ignoring of Public Debate

–Richard E. Vatz

“The President’s Proposal ensures that individuals have access to mental health services in the community setting, but strengthens standards for facilities that seek reimbursement as community mental health centers by ensuring these facilities are not taking advantage of Medicare patients or the taxpayers.”

The above quote is the only emendation in “The President’s Proposal” of February 22, 2010 to hone the mental health component of the newest variation of the health care plan. The President, you surely know, has claimed to be very interested in bipartisan support and bipartisan input for the health care plan – and I believe his every word.

It appears that now, however, he hopes to force “The President’s Plan” through the Congress with reconciliation, an unprecedented parliamentary ploy for such major legislation, which requires only a bare majority to pass a bill in the Senate, avoiding the need for any Republican support. Still, as indicated above, the president assures us that he does want Republican support and is interested in conservative objections, and I believe him.

President Richard M. Nixon used to be reviled for stating “I am the President.” When President Obama used that locution to justify the hierarchical squashing he laid on Republicans at the health care summit, no one blinked an eye. Of course, Nixon was a terrible man and Obama is the Second Coming, so different standards apply.

Do you understand what the statement at the opening of this article implies for mental health centers? Neither do I, but nothing in the President’s revamped plan undermines full mental health coverage, including all psychiatric diagnoses and treatments from the current and new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association made by all mental health psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, as Jeffrey Schaler and I argued in a piece in The Washington Times. Thomas Szasz’s half century of unmasking of psychiatric medical pretense is also ignored, of course, except in The Wall Street Journal.

You may recall that the president continues to be very interested, he has said, in critiques of his plan – and I believe him.

Finally, there appears to be growing realization of the pseudo-medical nature of the omnibus proposed mental health coverage. There are, just to name a few, Dr. Szasz’s article, Dr. Schaler’s and my article, an article yesterday by Edward Shorter, professor of the history of medicine and psychiatry, in the Wall Street Journal, and a piece by George F. Will in The Washington Post, all unmasking the psychiatric pretension of an America mired in insurable mental illness, with varying application to health care reform.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today (February 28, 2010) that “The [health care] bill can be bipartisan even if the votes are not…” because some Republican ideas are in the final bill.

Orwellians may find that to be a rhetorical trick, but I believe her. Her statement is as honest as President Obama’s use of the summit to seek out bipartisan support on the health care bill in general, and, as will not surprise you, I believe him.

The extraordinary additional cost of insuring the “worried well” in mental health insurance will add to the breaking of the bank, but President Obama and the Democrats say they are concerned only about serious medical problems and their costs.

And I believe them.

Professor Vatz is Associate Psychology Editor at USA Today Magazine and an editor at Current Psychology






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