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Monday, March 27, 2006

Horrible Problem, Possible Solution?

Published by cck at 10:49 AM

As our legislators face this year's budget, I wonder: will South Carolinians get the care they need. I've been talking about healthcare - about the 850,000 South Carolininans without basic coverage. But what about the folks with coverage, with insurance that still can't get the care they need?

This morning in The Greenville News, Dr. Ed Leap writes about folks with mental illness. He explains the obstacles many face while trying to receive treatment. It's a shame (and I say that knowing it is an understatement) that folks can't get the help they need to survive. When one in five South Carolinians have a diagnosed mental illness - from Depression to Schizophrenia - and so many times when they try to seek treatment, it is denied. Dr. Leap claims it is due to burn out of health care officials. He thinks we need more money to help assuage the problem.

Money is part of it. Understanding is part of it. And having health insurance that covers mental health is another. Private care in this state is arguably better than public care. And still, so many people with health insurance find themselves in the public system. Parity was a good step - but even that is only a beginning. Mental health should be regarded as importantly as physical health. When the top four causes of disability are all mental illnesses - we must wake up and realize that mental health is as important as physical health.