Media owners, will you PLEASE stop discriminating against mentally ill people? When H.R. 3200 for national health care was on the table, the bill was discussed on every newscast for a year. Newspaper reporters wrote about it, and broadcast journalists filled the airwaves with news about the national health care plan that EXCLUDES mental hospital coverage. However, H.R.619, the bill that proposes resuming Medicaid coverage for psychiatric hospitalization, has received absolutely NO mainstream news coverage. If I were a media owner/prison investor, I would not want to make that fact so OBVIOUS. Your bias is very blatant. It discredits you as journalists, and lessens you as human beings to want to reserve sick people for prison so much that you outright ignore the best chance acute mental patients have to escape the revolving door in and out of prisons and jails.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans has some form of mental illness. It is wrong for the congressional bill that offers psychiatrically challenged people hospital insurance coverage to be omitted from news reports. Do you presume to just ignore this important congressional bill? In so doing, you renege on your responsibility to report news that affects many millions of Americans and has tremendous bearing on a number of social ills that affect the rest of the nation. Where do mentally ill people go when they are in crisis? Unfortunately, mental hospitals are steadily closing, and sick people are populating prisons in increasing numbers. One major point of concern for people who CARE is that people are not generally taken to jail until AFTER some crime is committed. Hospitals are useful for prevention of suicides and murders that sometimes occur from lack of timely treatment.
Are you afraid that if mentally challenged Americans get the treatment they need, you would miss having gory news reports about sick people being Tasered to death by police during lunacy arrests or a mentally ill mother drowning all her children? Is that why mainstream media fails to notify America that a congressional bill was introduced LAST JANUARY - 15 months ago - that would reverse the bad decision to exempt mental hospitalization from Medicaid coverage? That decision led to the MONSTEROUS prison rolls that America has now. Approximately 1.25 million of the nation's 2.3 million inmates are mentally ill people. They comprise 60% of those in solitary confinement, cruelly imprisoned in torturous conditions because they lack the mental stability to conduct themselves according to society's laws. However, severe mental patients are frequently DENIED treatment that could have prevented the crimes that led to their arrests.
IF Medicaid was removed as a funding source because officials thought decades ago that it would save money, that has certainly been proved wrong. Prison costs rose to $50 billion per year in 2008, according to PEW. When one factors in police services, court costs, lawyers for indigent defendants, and probation programs, the cost for crime and punishment is roughly $185 billion annually. And OVER HALF of the inmates going through that process REPEATEDLY are mentally ill people who cannot be punished or rehabilitated into a state of mental health. Therefore, resuming Medicaid so that sick people can be treated for their psychiatric issues and crimes prevented would save money and lives.
Prisons are overcrowded. Even mentally and physically sound people are dying from diseases that spread easily in such environments. In 2007, eight California prisoners reportedly died of tooth decay when infection from rotten teeth entered their bloodstreams. Some inmates say they are HUNGRY, because their meal portions are inadequate. May I remind you that plenty of people in jail are there because they cannot make bail or no bond was set? Therefore, they are innocent until found guilty in a court of law. In view of the fact that around 500 convicted persons had their convictions overturned after DNA tests, new trials or hearings, there is every reason to believe that a significant number of prisoners may actually be innocent people. Innocent or guilty, they all deserve human rights. But so many are crowded into prisons now (because the mentally ill were added and do not belong there), that it is a strain to provide for their meals and health care.
In addition to overcrowded conditions endangering the inmates' health, the prison budget is oppressive and prevents funding for other domestic programs, like education, public transportation, recreation and jobs programs - things that could help reduce crime and prevent more incarcerations. If the mentally ill were treated in hospitals and community care programs instead of criminalized for their chronic health conditions, many of them would be stabilized sufficiently to return to wholesome lives and become taxpayers rather than tax burdens. Therefore, some of the billions that are now being used to imprison them would become available for wiser investments during these lean days in our economy.
If mental illness is not decriminalized and moved back to the health care system where it should have remained in the first place, prison costs will grow even more for several reasons: 1) mental stress builds during economic downturns; 2) around 54% of veterans transitioning home after combat duty may have PTSD; and 3) recidivism is higher among the mentally ill, many of whom left prison in worse mental states than when they arrived Jail is not a soothing, healing environment for mentally ill people, even if they receive treatment while incarcerated.
U.S. Census reported in 2000 our population was309,090,174 people. If 1 in 5 were mentally ill, that means we had 61,818,035 sick people. ten years ago. Each of the people who needs hospital coverage for mental illness likely has four people who care about them and would never want to see them imprisoned for having a heath crisis. That means mental health insurance coverage affects all 309,090,174 people, because most of us have a friend or relative who wrestles with depression, substance abuse problems, and more severe conditions like bipolar disorder, PTSD, and schizophrenia.
What possible excuse could mainstream media have to omit reporting about a bill that has such significance during a time when health coverage is the dominate topic on every newscast and in every single newspaper you published? That has to be deliberate exclusion and censorship, and I demand that you stop it right now. Furthermore, the American public should demand it with me and boycott your news reports and newspapers until you at least pretend to care about Americans with mental disabilities. Please report that we have an opportunity before us to decriminalize mental illness and turn around many other problems by doing so. Moreover, respect your customers who may not care about mental health care bills but rely on you for complete news coverage.
Below is a report on H.R.619's mainstream news coverage from January 21, 2009 until today - ZERO. That is obvious prejudice and dereliction of duty. Are you afraid that fully-informed Americans will support H.R.619, as they should? Even if you do not editorialize in favor of H.R.619, at least let people know that it exists. You have not even done that. Everyone who calls himself a journalist should be ashamed. Please improve. We cannot afford to postpone addressing such problems. People are suffering and dying needlessly, and prison costs are choking the nation.
H.R.619- To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to remove the exclusion from medical assistance under the Medicaid Program of items and services for patients in an institution for mental diseases.
Hmmmm, no news coverage found for this bill at this time.This means that this this bill has not yet been mentioned on a publicly-searchable news website by either its official number (for example, "H.R.3200") or title (for example, "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009"). As soon as that changes, our daily automated search across the Web will catch it and include it here. If this bill is of interest to you, you can write a letter to the editor referring to this bill by name, and if your letter is published on the Web, a link back your letter will appear here within about one day. Or, if you know of a news article about this bill to display here, email us the web address of this page and the web address of your suggested news article: email@example.com Our editorial team will post relevant links as quickly as possible. Thanks for helping to build public knowledge about Congress.
I used the term "crazy" in the title because it is derrogatory. It takes us back to a time when mental illness was used as grounds to treat people with that common, treatable health condition as being sub-human. It still seems to reflect how some decison makers feel about 1 in 5 Americans - that is the estimate for how many have mental illness, and 1.25 million are prisoners rather than hospitalized or receiving community care.
DJ Jaffe has been advocating for better treatment for individuals with serious mental illness for over 30 years. He has served multiple terms on the board of directors of the Metro-New York City Alliance for the Mentally Ill, New York State Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and National Alliance for Mental Illness. He is a member of the Leadership Council of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. He is a cofounder of the Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, VA.
There are several new places people can get info about alternatives to incarceration. Please publicize:
The new announcement of new rules was a holier than thou attempt by government to end discrimination by group insurers against the mentally ill. It was big government telling big insurers to do what the Federal Government itself refuses to do: provide parity in mental health coverage to the mentally ill.
But the new fanfare-announced rules only apply to large insurers insuring groups of employees. In other words, the rules only apply to those well enough to work, and their covered family members.
It leaves out many of the most seriously mentally ill: those who were never well enough to work or be 'covered' by an employer. Those who aren't covered under another policy. And these are the very ones we should be helping: the most seriously ill.
For these individuals, Medicaid is the only one they can turn to. But it won't do any good.
An obscure provision of Medicaid law call the "Institutes for Mental Disease" Exclusion (IMD Exclusion) specifically permits Medicaid to not cover the cost of long-term inpatient care for people who have a serious mental illness. As long as your illness is not in your cranium, Medicaid will cover you. But if the disease is in your cranium, Medicaid says sayonara.
So if you're a state director of mental health, and DC says to you, "We won't pay for patients in hospitals", what would you do? The states do the same thing. They kick the patient's out of hospitals so they can 'return' to the community. Why? Because then Medicaid will pick up 50% of the cost of their care.
Many mentally ill need hospitals. When released, they deteriorate. If they don't die, like Paul did, many get arrested. As a result of Medicaid discrimination against the mentally ill, states now have approximately 231,000 individuals with severe psychiatric disorders incarcerated. But there's no more room in the jails than there is in the closed hospitals. So what are states doing? Turning psychiatric hospitals they kicked the mentally ill out of, into jails they can put them into. Right now Virginia is considering turning one of theirs into a prison.
So I think -- I've been a strong believer in mental health parity, recognizing that those are serious illnesses. (Applause.) And I would like to see a mental health component as part of a package that people are covered under, under our plan. Okay? (Applause.)
But Obama's now-dead* health care reform did not include elimination of the IMD Exclusion; it only included a token pilot test program.
I'm happy the Obama Administration is telling group insurers to stop discrimination against the mentally ill. Now I wish they were listening to what they are saying.
UPDATE: As a result of IMD Exclusion a Hosp. in NJ is closing. Advocates will be organizing to save it. http://tinyurl.com/yc7g3ll
Health Care Reform Keeps Mentally Ill Uninsured JD Jaffe, Huffington Post - Sept. 24, 2009
______________ *H.R. 3200 national health care bill may yet be passed.
H.R. 619 is a bill pending before congress to resume Medicaid funding for psychiatric inpatients. I am disappointed to have it confirmed that H.R.619 is not a part of national health care bill H.R. 3200. About 1 in 5 Americans has mental illness. It is just as debilitating as any physical disease, and just as treatable as other chronic ailments such as diabetes that also require ongoing care. If your neighbor has a diabetic crisis and goes into a coma, it probably would have no impact on your life. If an neighbor remains untreated and goes into a crisis due to acute mental illness, it could have tragic consequences for YOU as well as the sick person and his/her family. Mentally ill Americans are citizens, too, and they should not be discriminated against, omitted from national health care, and preserved in their untreated state as future prisoners of America. Prisons and avoidable tragedies cost as much or more than hospitals, so why continue discriminating against mental patients and their families?
"Stop the madness," said Dr. Fuller, of Treatment Advocacy Center. Please insist on ending this injustice. Tell your representatives that you do not want to withhold treatment and pay to imprison your sick neighbors when it costs substantially less to treat them for their common, treatable health condition in hospitals or community care, depending on their functionality and community safety. Only treatment can stop tragedies before they happen and restore many people to wholesome lives.
Please visit JD Jaffe's articles often at Huffington Post for more information regarding acute mental illness. Books by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey are also valuable sources of information. He is a leading expert on mental illness who outlines the tragic consequences of "deinstitutionalization" and sounds the call for reform. Actually, there never was any deinstitutionalization, because 1.25 million mentally challenged Americans are in prison now. See in this Sharebook a letter by NAMI, representing 230,000 members, announcing that organization's support for H.R.619. Join all of these family members and mental health care professionals in saying to our representatives, "Please pass H.R.619 to resume Medicaid funding for inpatient treatment." ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO DO THE RIGHT THING. DO NOT PRESERVE SICK PEOPLE FOR PRISON TO CAPITALIZE OFF THEIR PAIN AND LEAVE AMERICANS AT UNNECESSARY RISK FOR AVOIDABLE TRAGEDIES. PLEASE ENSURE THAT H.R. 619 PROVISIONS FOR PSYCHIATRIC INPATIENT TREATMENT ARE INCLUDED IN NATIONAL HEALTH CARE REFORM. Mary Neal Website: http://wrongfuldeathoflarryneal.com/
Mary Loves Justice P.O. Box 153 Redan, GA 30074-0153
JAIL IS THE LAST THING THAT MENTAL PATIENTS NEED, AND TOO OFTEN, IT IS THE VERY LAST THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join our effort to decriminalize mental illness. No one deserves to be punished for having a disability.
A wise man wrote, “We all face disabilities sooner or later, if we live long enough.” Posted below in this article is one of the most life-affirming messages and videos ever. The video illustrates plainly what is wrong with Kevorkian reasoning.
The life-affirming message in this video might be particularly important considering the news report from Compassion & Choices, an organization that advocates for “choice and care at the end of life.” The organization issued the following report:
08.19.08 ~ Bush Administration moves to undercut end-of-life care and choices
Compassion & Choices today protested draft regulations circulating within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that would allow health care workers to deny treatment based on their religious or moral beliefs.
The draft was not provided at the site of Compassion & Choices' article. It would seem unnecessary for the Bush Administration to make provisions to protect the rights of medical providers unless assisted suicide is expected to become widely available in the U.S. Apparently, the groundwork is being laid. No doubt, many doctors and nurses believe helping patients kill themselves is wrong. Hopefully, they also strenuously object to actually killing their patients by lethal injection.
The idea of widespread euthanasia and assisted suicide might be excellent news for insurance companies, and it certainly would be one way to control government costs under any eventual national health insurance. Around here, money often trumps "religious or moral beliefs," and money apparently rewrites the Hippocratic Oath, which has several versions. Doctors swaring the original oath stated, "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel." The oath was written by Hippocrates, a celebrated Greek physician who died around 380 to 360 B.C., so the oath has been around a while. Over time, there have been revisions to the oath, and it is not mandatory for all doctors to make this pledge. See more about it at this link: http://members.tripod.com/nktiuro/hippocra.htm.
One problem with making assisted suicide and physician-administered lethal injection legitimate choices for patients is this: First, terminal patients choosing to end their own lives becomes an "acceptable" choice; second, it gets to be the expected choice; and finally, death could become theONLY AVAILABLE CHOICE for very sick people under their insurance plans. Can you see that as being a possible progression? A likely progression?
I suppose nursing home owners may soon need to consider other businesses. Elderly people generally suffer from a chronic condition with no expectation of recovery, called old age.
Assisted suicide is already legal in a number of places. I recently read of a woman who was “assisted,” and her chronic health condition was not physical, but mental. She suffered from manic depression. Such reports do not bode well for depressed people or folks with other mental dysfunctions who might easily be led to answer "yes" to just about anything.
The problem with all of these sentences of Life in Prison with No Chance of Parole is they have created a growing population of aging convicts who presumably pose no threat to society. Denying care for chronically and terminally ill convicts would address that financial burden, too, not that prisons offer great hospice care even now. Yet, it would be even cheaper to provide NO medical intervention for dying prisoners except lethal injection.
That takes care of the elderly, the mentally ill, and aging prisoners - first.
While the Bush Administration is drafting legislation protecting medical providers from rendering what they hold to be objectionable medical services, I hope that legislation can never be construed to limit a terminal or chronically ill patient’s right to receive care and prolong life to the full extent of medical science. Who knows when a doctor or nurse may decide it is against “their religious or moral beliefs” not to kill their suffering patients? Numerous doctors and nurses have been found guilty of doing just that. It seems appropriate at this juncture for the Bush Administration to spell out certain protections for the patients just as it is reportedly doing for medical providers. The provision should read: "Don't kill folks who did not make that request in a Living Will while in a reasonable state of good health and sound mind."
That language would protect patients from having "loving" relatives decide when their dying day will be, also. Allowing others to make life and death decisions regarding debilitated patients requires more trust than many people are worthy of, and giving third parties that power clearly violates disabled citizens’ inalienable right to life. Or will the right to life eventually be nullified for terminally ill and chronically ill patients, except the wealthy?
If assisted suicide ever becomes widely available, the presumption about all patients should be that they want to live,unless there is a Living Will the patient executed while in good health and sound mind. Medical intervention should be rendered as needed to all warm bodies except in the face of brain death, or the state illegally renders third parties the right to terminate life.
One would hope that relatives are truthful when they come forward and testify that a debilitated patient would want to “die with dignity” (be euthanized) rather than continue living with her physical limitations. But how can the courts be sure the third party is not really interested in hurrying the life insurance payout, dodging the next-of-kin responsibility of delivering day-to-day care without appearing to desert a dying relative, or that the concerned relative is not simply angry over a casserole dish never returned.
Terri Schivio’s husband is probably the only man found by the judiciary to be incapable of lying. Terri was starved to death over the objections of her family because of testimony by her husband, who had a new romantic interest. Although Terri had no Living Will, her husband claimed to know that she would not want to live “like that.” Recently, the mother of Delaware resident, Lauren Richardson, petitioned the court to remove her daughter’s feeding tube and allow Lauren to “die with dignity” over the objections of Lauren’s father. Hopefully, Lauren’s mother has her daughter’s best interest at heart, but how can the court know? Lauren is a young mother who was a drug user before her illness. Some parents are pretty disappointed and embarrassed when children have such issues and may prefer not to deal with them any longer. See more about Lauren at this link: http://www.nowpublic.com/world/delaware-says-no-killing-brain-damaged-woman Presumably, the Bush Administration's legislation might also be used to give medical providers the right to refuse to perform other medical services they deem immoral or irreligious without fear of reprisal from their employers. For instance, some medical professionals may find it objectionable to provide care for transgender operations or to help a male give birth. (Yes, it has happened, according to an ABC report at this link: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5302756&page=1)
Ready now for the MOST LIFE-AFFIRMING VIDEO EVER? First, a brief introduction by the producers:
This is a true story. Read all this intro and then watch the video.
The son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?' The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'.
They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together. One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.' To this request, his father said 'Yes,' too.
For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island; Father and son went on to complete the race together.
As my grandmother used to say, "Wasn’t that some’um?"
This article is dedicated to all victims of euthanasia worldwide. It is dedicated to those disabled persons living in countries where euthanasia is legal who feel they are imposing upon their family members and governments by not electing to “die with dignity." It is dedicated to the chronically ill patients who were allegedly euthanized in New Orleans when doctors tired of their cries during Katrina. Hopefully, this video will be a wakeup call to authority figures who esteem themselves worthy to determine who else is worthy of breath. This is dedicated to my brother, Larry.
********************** Some people believe the progression of disregard for human life will happen thusly:
Abortion on patient's demand; then abortion by government demand
Assisted suicide without doctors taking an active role; then euthanasia by physician with consent by the patient or his relative; then death by government demand
War with clear provacation; then war without clear provacation, but with presumption of threat to national security; then war simply because it is profitable and empowering to some
'Thou shalt not kill any living thing,' for life is given to all by God, and that which God has given, let not man taketh it away. ~Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve,(earliest known recorded words of Jesus)
"Thou shalt not kill."~Exodus 20:13 Authorized version of King James
"You shall not murder." ~ New International Version
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