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How Government Regulation Is Undermining Mental Health Care

Anyone who has given two seconds worth of thought to it knows that school shootings are not occurring because we have a gun problem. They are occurring because we have a mental health problem. So what are we doing about that? Not much. Despite several mental health parity laws, government regulation is one reason why so little is being done. ObamaCare is probably making things worse.

If the market for medical care worked like a normal market, providers would specialize, advertise and actively recruit patients who have problems that need to be solved. But standing between the patients and the providers are third-party payers (employers, insurance companies and government). And in direct response to government regulations, these payers have no interest in solving the problems of the mentally ill.

As I wrote in Priceless, health plans have perverse incentives to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. Once people are enrolled, the plans have perverse incentives to over-provide to the healthy and under-provide to the sick. This is especially true in the case of mental illness.

John C. Goodman is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, President of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed Independent books, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and the award-winning, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”

New from John C. Goodman!
A BETTER CHOICE: Healthcare Solutions for America
Obamacare remains highly controversial and faces ongoing legal and political challenges. Polls show that by a large margin Americans remain opposed to the healthcare law and seek to “repeal and replace” it. However, the question is: Replace it with what?

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