Advocacy E-News August 14, 2014
August 14, 2014
THE SCIENCE BEHIND SUICIDE CONTAGION
Mental illness is not a communicable disease, but there’s a strong body of evidence that suicide is still contagious. People who kill themselves are already vulnerable, but publicity around another suicide appears to make a difference as they are considering their options. The evidence suggests that suicide “outbreaks” and “clusters” are real phenomena; one death can set off others. There’s a particularly strong effect from celebrity suicides. Suicide prevention advocates have developed guidelines for news media coverage of suicide deaths. The idea is to avoid emphasizing or glamorizing suicide, or to make it seem like a simple or inevitable solution for people who are at risk.
FAMILIES ANGRY CHRISTIE VETOED BILLS ON WHERE DISABLED WILL LIVE
Despite earning overwhelming support in the legislature, two bills that would have given families a greater say in where their loved ones with developmental disabilities live and what level of care and supervision they receive have been rejected by Gov. Chris Christie. A group of about 70 families whose relatives would be affected by Return Home New Jersey said they were stunned, because it appears the state is sacrificing the stability and safety of their children to save money.
N.J. BILL THREATENS HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET
A bill in our Legislature must be stopped before it upends the foundation of New Jersey’s health insurance market for individuals and small businesses. The legislation, S2220 and A3421, would roll back important regulations of “multiple employer welfare arrangements,” also known as MEWAs. The bill strips away consumer protections. Now, plans are required to cover the same type of benefits that are covered in the essential health benefits plan in the insurance market. The bill eliminates that requirement entirely for large employers and all but eliminates it for small employers. Certain benefits for autism, mental health and substance abuse treatment coverage, coverage for hearing aids for children, and more would be eliminated.
PERPETUATING SCHIZOPHRENIA’S STIGMA
A FEW months ago, a patient came to our hospital, seeking help. He had come to believe that government agents were conspiring against him, and he had taken to living out of a truck and sleeping in different parking lots. We admitted him to the hospital, and after a few days, with his symptoms under control, we released him. Unfortunately, we prescribed a medication for him that could cause significant, permanent harm, instead of an equally effective drug with milder side effects — all because he was uninsured. As we make much-needed progress and develop new, expensive treatments that are clearly superior to old, cheap ones, we have to ask: Will those with the most to gain still receive a lower standard of care?
DEADLINE LOOMS FOR APPLICANTS TO CLEAR UP OBAMACARE DISCREPANCIES
Anyone seeking a federal subsidy with which to buy health insurance must provide basic information about income, citizenship status and family size. That information in turn is compared to federal data bases, such as the Internal Revenue Service’s, to make sure it matches.
An inconsistency does not necessarily mean the person is ineligible for enrollment or a subsidy. Sometimes it’s just a red flag pointing out an incomplete or incorrect Social Security number entered by error. But any mismatch that isn’t resolved by Sept. 5 will result in the consumer getting tossed off the subsidy rolls.