Today while reading the WSJ I came across an article on the impact of some changes to the medical insurance laws.
Members of the Screen Actors Guild recently read in their health plan’s newsletter that, beginning in January, almost 12,000 of its participants will lose access to treatment for mental-health and substance-abuse issues. The guild’s health plan represents one of a small number of unions, employers and insurers that are scrapping such benefits for their enrollees because of a 2008 law that requires that mental-health and substance-abuse benefits, if offered, be as robust as medical or surgical benefits. By dropping such coverage, providers can circumvent the requirements.
Changing laws to mandate higher SERVICE requirements on employers (and in this case, guilds or unions) obviously causes COSTS to rise, as well. Since not all costs are borne by the government and thus invisible to the average non-governmental employee, businesses have to take steps to cope with these laws and reduce costs somewhere.
The irony of all this is that probably no group in the popular imagination is as associated with mental illness and treatment for substance abuse as actors; from reading the popular press you would get the picture that many of them spend some time in “rehab” at some point in their career.
And even more you can just picture in your minds eye some aging, pompous actor or actress chaining themselves to the fence in favor of this type of mandate with some sort of sign over their head saying “Justice for All” and stating that doesn’t everyone deserve the best coverage?
But the net result of this sort of mandate is no coverage for anyone, since the plan can’t afford to move from a normal plan to a “gold plated” plan, so they are dropping it entirely.
And no one needs mental health assistance & rebab more than the deluded actor base on the left coast that funds and agitates for just this sort of mandate in the first place.
Now that’s irony.
Cross posted at LITGM