Today, as part of the Obama administration's continuing efforts to increase access to mental health services, the final rule implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was issued.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday that new regulations will require health insurers to treat mental health coverage like all other aspects of healthcare, the culmination of a long effort to achieve parity for mental health coverage and part of Obama’s effort to curb gun violence. The regulations put into effect a 2008 law, and will affect nearly 85 percent of Americans with health insurance. Insurers will be required to pay as much for mental health as they do for medical and surgical procedures, and cannot limit the geographical area where mental health care is covered.
The final rule issued today implements the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and ensures that health plans features like co-pays, deductibles and visit limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health/substance abuse disorders benefits than they are for medical/surgical benefits.
Just when I thought things couldn't get any more bizarre today, this gem crossed my Twitter stream, courtesy of Media Matters. Really, some folks ought to think before hitting the "tweet button." From the hatriot Neal Boortz, known as Talkmaster on Twitter, this little pair of gems:
Yes, it really DOES say that. Not content to leave that little bomb in the stream, he followed up with this:
While Media Matters was content to show this insanity with no further comment, I'm not. Small business is better off today than it was under Bush. This is fact. Their taxes are lower, they get an immediate tax credit for providing health benefits to their workers, and they finally get some parity with the big corporations.
Neal Boortz calls himself a libertarian, but he's really just a fool with a big mouth and a microphone.
I wonder if he's ever researched his company's past. If so, he'd know the founder of Cox Radio was Franklin D. Roosevelt's running mate in 1920. FDR would NOT approve, and I somehow believe Mr. Cox would not either.
There were quite a few offensive Supreme Court rulings this year, but one of the more surprising decisions was in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, in which the court ruled 5 to 4 (natch) that workers who face wage discrimination only have 180 days to challenge the initial discrimination in court. (Slate’s Richard Thompson Ford explained the case quite well a couple of months ago.)
Goodyear Tire intentionally shortchanged Lilly Ledbetter, a female employee, for two decades. The court majority (Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy) said if Ledbetter wanted to challenge the discrimination, she needed to sue within 180 days of her first unfair paycheck — even though she continued to receive unfair paychecks for 20 years.
Today, the House took up legislation — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — that would put into law a clarification — wage disparity based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability is not a one-time occurrence. Every discriminatory paycheck represents an ongoing violation. Employees would still have 180 days to challenge the discrimination, but from the last check, not the first.
The good news is the House passed the measure. The bad news is Bush plans to veto.
H.R. 2831, which addresses wage disparity based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability, clarifies that such discrimination is not a one-time occurrence that starts and ends with a pay decision, but that each paycheck represents a continuing violation by the employer. Critically, this legislation will ensure employers do not profit from years of discrimination simply because their employees were unaware of it. Far from imposing a new rule on employers, however, reversing the Ledbetter decision would restore Congress' legislative intent, as well as the law that prevailed in the majority of federal circuits and at the EEOC before the Supreme Court's ruling. It reaffirms the fundamental principle that our civil rights protections are intended to have a road remedial purpose - to make persons whole for injuries suffered because of unlawful employment discrimination. American workers should know that they are protected from wage discrimination and are able to challenge such discrimination no matter how long it takes them to discover it.
The ACLU strongly urges you to vote in support this legislation.
The right wing noise machine is really digging deep to find some new form of---liberal media outrage to fawn over---and so we know have the "Al-Qaida does it, too routine," when it comes to torture. James Tarnato from the WSJ let's his readers know that he's watching us.
The thought of replying to Taranto's "point" never even occurred to me. Taranto is baffled -- and thinks he has discovered a highly revealing disparity -- because it is news that the United States tortures people, whereas it is not news that Al Qaeda tortures people. What is there even to say about that? Why take up readers' time responding to an "argument" that, completely on its own, provokes equal amounts of disgust and scornful laughter?...read on
So here's this Huffington Post story that has the Hill in a tizzy, all about the massive amounts of money the Republicans plan to spend to win the mid-terms this year, and this paragraph in particular jumped out:
While it's anticipated that both parties will be able to maintain approximate parity in the amount of money they can spend on congressional races, top strategists are resigned to the likelihood that Democratic interest groups won't match their Republican counterparts. So far this cycle, the activist base -- personified by groups like MoveOn.org -- has been motivated by issue-advocacy and primary challenges, not the Democratic Party's well being.
Au contraire, mes amis! We are absolutely motivated by the Democratic Party's well-being. In fact, we are so concerned, we've been staging a series of interventions during primaries in order to stop the party from shooting that corporate crack right into their veins.
To hear the party bigwigs speak, you'd think there had never been a netroots movement that put Howard Dean in charge of the DNC, and thus created the 50-state strategy that put the Democrats in the position where they even have control of the House and Senate!
What did it mean when the brand-new administration put Tim Kaine in charge of the DNC, and offered Howard Dean not a thing as reward for his faithful service? It meant that the Beltway "grownups" were in charge now, and that they thought they could handle things just fine by ingesting that corporate crack.
How's that working for ya, fellas?
If you read the article, you'll see they're complaining that unions spent money on primary challenges -- without even considering the fact that unions were fighting anti-union Blue Dogs. (As Rich Trumka pointed out, why do the Democrats assume that money would go to them?)
You'll notice that the netroots are still funneling large sums of money to candidates who actually represent the people's agenda -- and not that of Wall Street and multinational corporations.
You'd think that maybe, just maybe, someone in the Democratic leadership would Connect. Those. Dots.
I wish I wanted to give the Democrats money. I wish they showed leadership, I wish they inspired me. I wish I could enthusiastically recommend them to my friends.
And I wish they could come up with a selling point other than "we're not quite as bad as the other guys."