Here's a letter I recently discovered that I wrote to the NY Times, in response to an editorial by Russell Baker, over eleven years ago about the corrupt tactics of insurance companies:

"To the Editor:

Russell Baker’s April 17, 1998 column on the ways insurance companies now determine our choices in medical treament, while written with a humor I can appreciate, underscores what is in fact a very serious health problem. As a psychotherapist treating people with a variety of at times debilitating disorders, I have encountered time and again non-medical personnel at these insurance companies who tell me that if a disorder is not treatable in six sessions, then it must be approved in a telephone case conference - with someone who is not an expert in mental disorders. Furthermore, if the disorder is not treatable in 20 sessions or less, then it is not covered anyway. I recently asked one such representative what psychiatric disorders, other than perhaps nail-biting, were treatable in 20 sessions or less, and he was unable to answer. I prodded him further asking why they weren’t just honest and say that they will only pay for six sessions of therapy per year regardless of the condition, rather than pretending that there are disorders that could be cured in 6 to 20 sessions. Again, no answer. Meanwhile, many of my patients have found out to their unfortunate surprise that the therapy coverage they thought they had was non-existent, but like one of the insurance company reviewers candidly said to me in a recent phone conference, “It just means that people will have to pay for therapy out of pocket like they always did up until 10 years ago.” Now that’s progress.

Sincerely, Peter V. Loffredo, LCSW"

Man, that guy was ahead of his time!

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