Arguments Against the Mental Health Parity Act

 (2002)

G. Stolyarov II

See Mr. Stolyarov's Index of Selected Writings, Originally Published on Associated Content / Yahoo! Voices.
A sample image
Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2002 and published in two parts on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007, where it received over 1,900 page views. To preserve a record of my writings following the shutdown of Yahoo! Voices in 2014, I have given this article a permanent presence on this page.

~ G. Stolyarov II, July 29, 2014

In recent years, the Democratic Party has expanded its operations on promoting a Mental Health Parity Act in Congress, which holds as its primary proponents senators such as Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Pete Domenici of New Mexico. The Parity Act, if passed, would in essence impose increased requirements upon insurance firms by mandating identical coverage for patients of "mental illness" as exists for those of conventional ailments.

Yet the subtle implications of this are disastrous for both private enterprise and individual liberties. Certain clauses of this legislation render possible mandatory treatment for individuals with certain forms of "mental illness" as is necessary under a vast number of current health insurance plans covering physical malignancies.

"The resulting conclusion is that adoption of parity legislation would triple the number of Americans receiving psychiatric treatments such as psychiatric drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, forced feeding (for those deemed to have eating disorders), and involuntary commitment. For some opponents of parity legislation, it is precisely these outcomes which are the most frightening." ("The Forensics Quarterly" Vol. 76, No. 1, 2002, p. 22)

Under the disguise of "equal treatment" (of which there will be none under the act in question, contrary to the status quo in which an adult patient may seek assistance provided that he is willing to do so), this proposition amounts to coercion and the tripling of individuals who have been degraded to the position of utter dependence on the government in an area where their consent is judged irrelevant.

The psychiatrist Thomas Szasz warns us: "In the past politicians seized power by declaring national emergencies. Now they do so by declaring public health emergencies. Alcoholism, obesity, suicide, and violence, they say, are killing Americans. Individuals are not responsible for eating or drinking too much, for killing themselves or others. The rejection of personal responsibility for one behavior after another-- each deliberate act transformed into a 'no-fault disease'-- drives the politics of therapy. The government declares war on drugs, cancer, heart disease, obesity, mental illness, poverty, racism, sexism, suicide, and violence. However, drug addicts refuse to abstain from drugs, the obese overeat, the mentally sick reject being treated as patients, and the poor refuse to adopt the habits of the rich. Coping with these and other 'health emergencies' requires enlarging the scope and coercive powers of medicine as an arm of the state." (Dr. Thomas Szasz, Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America. 2001, p. xiii)

This catastrophe of government expansion stems from a predominantly collectivist philosophy and perspective. Individuals are not judged as responsible, nor as sufficiently capable to volitionally reverse their suffering. Consequently, their control over their lives becomes surrendered to social engineers who do not believe in free will and constantly implement their perception of man as a statistic in their domestic policy agendas.

These social engineers neglect utterly the specifics of every "patient's" situation and propose one-size-fits-all remedies which amount to nothing but further limitations on men's rights to determine the paths of their lives. They refuse to acknowledge two characteristics objectively possessed by the independent member of Homo sapiens, responsibility and significance. As a result they permit them neither, in perfect accordance with their vile ideals.

Edward Kennedy, the chief promoter of parity legislation, had himself issued a general statement against individualism during the victory of the New York Patriots football team: "At a time when our entire country is banding together and facing down individualism, the Patriots set a wonderful example, showing us all what is possible when we work together, believe in each other, and sacrifice for the greater good."

With legislation such as the Mental Health Parity Act, the collectivist roots are being laid in this day and age for such a dreary vision as Senator Kennedy describes, in which man is a transient means instead of a permanent end, in which he is the disposable tool of a mystical beast that does not exist, the fraud of its very presence rendering it ever more fearsome.

Dangerous Political Motives Behind the Mental Health Parity Act

Not only is the proposed Mental Health Parity Act gravely flawed and threatening to the liberties of millions of Americans, but it is also motivated by less-than-pure political considerations.

Senator Domenici attempts to justify this legislation by presenting statistics which are alarming at first glance. "Major depressive disorder: 9.9 million American adults age 18 and older suffer from this disorder in a given year; Bipolar disorder: 2.3 million American adults age 18 and older suffer from this disorder in a given year; and Obsessive-compulsive disorder: 3.3 million American adults age 18-54 suffer from this disorder in a given year." (Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico, 2001. p. S11166)

However, through the veil of humanitarian condescension can be detected the genuine motive behind parity legislation.

If we glance at the popular votes granted to candidates in past elections, we note that frequently the outcomes are determined by minute margins. President Bush had obtained office as a result of receiving little over 900 more votes than Mr. Gore in the state of Florida. John F. Kennedy had defeated Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 presidential election by approximately 120,000 votes nationwide.

The number of persons judged to be effective incompetents by Senator Domenici amounts to 15.5 million individuals, all of voting age. Should they be undergoing "involuntary commitment" to psychiatric institutions, there is likelihood of them becoming barred from their expressing their rightful voices in future races, for they would be declared "mentally unstable" and "incapable of rational selection", despite the fact that their "disorders" are seldom real and cannot be ascertained through scientific examinations.

The controversial judgments of medical professionals (many of whom, especially in the event that parity legislation becomes approved, will be subordinates of the current government) may disenfranchise nearly 7.75% of the country's popular electorate (if the adult citizen population is assumed to be 200 million)! Considering that this bill has received staunch Democratic advocacy, it is a frightening possibility that Democratic incumbents and their "pharmacratic" servants will subjectively perceive Republican convictions or those advocating individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to be signs of "mental derangement", as they had been perceived in the dystopia conjured by George Orwell in 1984. The mechanism to tilt elections in their favor will be within their hands should these politicians obtain the legal permission and formidable political standing from the passage of a Mental Health Parity Act.

In addition, "treatments" rendered "available by this legislation will not exist in the form of private psychiatric therapy or any traditional conscientious interaction between doctor and patient. Dr. Thomas Szasz explains:

"We are talking about a situation where the government is mandating that an ostensibly private insurance company provide coverage for a disease which doesn't exist. There is so much to say about it, I don't know where to begin. The people who clamor for this-- mainly politicians and psychiatrists-- want parity for mental illness, but they don't want parity for the mental patient, because ordinary patients can reject treatment. They don't mean therapy; they mean getting a foot in the door for involuntarily treating people and having these huge bowls of money going into psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. Again, cui bono: Who profits from this? It finally came out that Eli Lilly is a big donor to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and they have millions of dollars to propagandize their views. The critics don't have any money to propagandize their views. This is a completely one-sided, government-sponsored movement." (Dr. Thomas Szasz, Interview with "Reason" magazine, 2000. p. 26)

The exact psychiatric drugs that have been shown to result in violence, addiction, and death of brain cells are in the process of being imposed upon adult citizens of the nation! Congress, much like the public educational establishment, stands in support of this through the voices of numerous prominent Democrats. They craft agreements with the manufacturers of these poisons, such as Eli Lilly, in order to obtain propaganda funds and spread biased and deceptive, pseudo-compassionate pleas for support of the abomination that is mental health parity.

Gennady Stolyarov II (G. Stolyarov II) is an actuary, science-fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. 

In December 2013, Mr. Stolyarov published Death is Wrong, an ambitious children’s book on life extension illustrated by his wife Wendy. Death is Wrong can be found on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

Mr. Stolyarov has contributed articles to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), The Wave Chronicle, Le Quebecois Libre, Brighter Brains Institute, Immortal Life, Enter Stage RightRebirth of Reason, The Liberal Institute, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

In an effort to assist the spread of rational ideas, Mr. Stolyarov published his articles on Associated Content (subsequently the Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Voices) from 2007 until Yahoo! closed this venue in 2014. Mr. Stolyarov held the highest Clout Level (10) possible on the Yahoo! Contributor Network and was one of its Page View Millionaires, with over 3,175,000 views. Mr. Stolyarov’s selected writings from that era have been preserved on this page.

Mr. Stolyarov holds the professional insurance designations of Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS), Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Reinsurance (ARe), Associate in Regulation and Compliance (ARC), Associate in Personal Insurance (API), Associate in Insurance Services (AIS), Accredited Insurance Examiner (AIE), and Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance (AIAF).

Mr. Stolyarov has written a science fiction novel, Eden against the Colossus, a philosophical treatise, A Rational Cosmology,  a play, Implied Consent, and a free self-help treatise, The Best Self-Help is Free. You can watch his YouTube Videos.Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com.

Recommend this page.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.