Insurers hurting psych patients, too
Re “Psychiatric patients desperately need housing. We’re failing them” (Editorials, May 16): There are complex reasons for the current dilemma, but one bears emphasizing: Insurers don’t provide the resources necessary for adequate care. In the 1990s, mental health care expenditures declined about 50 percent – not because patients’ suffering improved by half – and haven’t recovered since then.
In the “managed care” movement of the 1990s, overall health care expenditures slowed their ascent somewhat. But the average length of stay for an inpatient psychiatric unit actually dropped from 10 to 15 days to the current four to five days. Hospitals often respond to thinning payments and pressures to discharge patients by selectively triaging, aggressively medicating and then quickly releasing extremely sick patients.
The alternative is to close their inpatient units completely, which has happened. This ultimately represents insurers attempts to balance profits on the backs of a cohort unlikely to organize and lobby for fair treatment and adequate resources.
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Greg Sazima, Roseville
U. S. can’t afford to ignore China
Re “China’s Xi offers trade bloc vision” (Page 7A, May 16): China is, once again, demonstrating its intent to achieve superpower status with its efforts to foster diplomatic goodwill throughout Africa, Asia and even Europe. The United States must not only recognize this reality, but inoculate it.
China is not only an economic trading partner, but a potential ally to waylaying such lawless powers as Russia and North Korea. Let us hope that China in its rise to world prominence uses the United States as an example of a superpower to model.
John R. Williams,
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