Thursday, March 17, 2005
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Letters to the Editor

We welcome responses from our readers. Letters should be typed (double-spaced), if possible, and must include the writer’s name, address, and a telephone number where he or she can be reached during business hours for verification. The writer’s name and position or town will be published, but these may be withheld for good reason.

Letters may be mailed to the Boston Phoenix, 126 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; faxed to (617) 859-8201; or e-mailed to or to staff writers’ e-mail addresses (e-mailed letters must include a telephone number for verification and a hometown). All letters are subject to editing for considerations of space, fairness, and clarity.


Presumably, the reason insurers won’t pay for treatment of "non-biological" illnesses such as eating disorders is that these illnesses are seen as "the patient’s fault" — indicative of a lack of character or willpower ["Into Thin Air," News and Features, March 11]. But many "biological" illnesses can result from smoking, bad diet, and lack of exercise. In fact, simple guidelines exist for reducing the risk of biological illnesses via healthy living; no such guidelines exist for reducing the risk of mental illness. So if insurers cover physical illnesses to which the patient may have contributed, they should certainly cover mental illnesses, over which the patient has much less control.

Ilya Shlyakhter

Princeton, New Jersey

What a comprehensive and important article — thank you so much for putting this issue out there in such a clearly written and informative piece.

Debbie Franko, PhD


We would like to thank Deirdre Fulton for her sensitive and excellent article spotlighting my daughter’s personal struggle to recover from severe anorexia, and highlighting the critical health-insurance changes needed to ensure that the best treatments are available and affordable. Above all, insurers need to recognize that "real life" recovery often requires intense and lengthy treatment to allow time for therapy and to reinforce healthy coping skills — rushing patients out of treatment as soon as they become medically stable only guarantees they’ll be admitted again and again, adding to health costs and their recovery progress. Although I was very aware of the parity act, Fulton’s update on recent insurance-lobbying progress was welcome news to me! I will certainly find out how to add my voice to the revived lobbying efforts.

Please accept our gratitude for helping to raise awareness and for giving my daughter a chance to add her voice.

Christine Meimarides

Glenna McPartland


Issue Date: March 18 - 24, 2005
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