What Price Mental Health?

The Ethics and Politics of Setting Priorities

Philip J. Boyle and Daniel Callahan, Editors

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Regardless of the fate of national health care reform, public policy makers will have to make difficult and tragic choices about which health services are more or less important. This volume, the first comprehensive examination of setting mental health services priorities, systematically explores the history, ethics, and politics of setting priorities for public mental health services. Because mental health services have traditionally been given lower priority and less generous benefits than general health services, they form a striking case study for priority setting.

Written by mental health care practitioners and scholars, What Price Mental Health? explores the social factors that most influence attempts to set priorities; offers case studies at the state level; illustrates priorities at the federal level and in the private sector; and identifies the ethical criteria that must be applied in any attempt to set priorities.

This volume is conceptionally rich for those familiar with mental health care research, but written in a style understandable to the general reader. Policy makers will find the book useful in the on-going debates about mental health care. Psychologists, public health professionals, researchers and students of psychology, public policy and public health will find this study an absorbing and informative addition to the mental health field.

Table of Contents

I. Influences in Priority Setting

1. Minds and Hearts: Priorities in Mental Health Services
Philip J. Boyle and Daniel Callahan

2. Government and Mental Health Policy: A Structural Analysis
Gerald Grob

3. Establishing Mental Health Priorities
David Mechanic

4. Who Will Set Priorities for Mental Health?
Leslie Scallet and James Havel

5. Law and Priority Setting
Len Rubenstein

6. Private Insurance Priorities: Its Effect on Mental Health Priorities
Miriam Cotler and Brian Gould

II. Priority Setting Case Studies

7. Prioritization of Mental Health Services in Oregon
David Pollack, Bentson McFarland, Robert George, Richard Angell

8. Mental Health Coverage in Health Care Reform: The Case of New York State
Richard Surles and Cynthia Feiden-Warsh

III. Ethical Issues in Setting Priorities

9. Setting Mental Health Priorities: Problems and Possibilities
Daniel Callahan

10. Priority Setting in Mental Health?
Robert Michels

11. Tragedy, Prejudice, and Publicity in Setting Priorities
James Nelson

12. What Level of Government? Balancing the Interests of the State and Local Community
Howard Goldman, Richard Frank, Martin Gaynor

13. Some Unresolved Ethical Issues in Priority Setting of Mental Health Services
Dan Brock



Supplemental Materials


About the Author

256 pp., 6 x 9

Sep 1995

256 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-359-2
Sep 1995

256 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-831-0
Sep 1995

Hastings Center Studies in Ethics series
Gregory E. Kaebnick and Daniel Callahan, Series Editors

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