National health insurance, psychotherapy, and the poor

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Abstract

Debate on psychotherapy coverage under national health insurance has centered around perceived inequitable service to different income groups. It has been argued that national health insurance coverage for psychotherapy would represent a subsidy to the affluent by poorer citizens. Four pertinent hypotheses were examined in a series of studies of 5,967 patients in community mental health centers. It has been maintained that the poor would not seek psychotherapy, would receive fewer sessions, would receive either less prestigious treatments or less trained therapists, and would benefit less than the more affluent. None of these hypotheses were supported. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of psychotherapy coverage under national health insurance and the role of psychologists in a national system of service delivery. (36 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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