The Crescent Report

September 13, 2008

State Senator Wants Moratorium on New Mental Health Policy and More

Senator Shaw wants humanitarian resources for all human beings in need. Along with civil activist organizations within the borders of North Carolina and beyond, MAS-Freedom is on board along with North Carolina Peace Action which advocates for “Equitable World Order,” which includes healthcare.

State Senator Larry Shaw sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting a moratorium on a policy that will cut the number of hours some parents are paid to care for their disabled relatives. Senator Shaw promotes a secure network for those persons who want to live outside the institution and providing them sound financial support and assistance. His humanitarian journey did not begin here and will not end there. His policy does not include superficial initiatives that do not promote human decency in the realm of healthcare and provide real support for families of the disabled. Bill Towe serves as national co-chair of Peace Action, the Washington-based group once known as SANE and later SANE/Freeze is the driving force behind the N.C. Peace Action chapter. Peace Action has over 100 chapters in 34 states, with a strong grassroots network known for its “Action Alerts” that educate the American public on the nuances of the Democratic process and their responsibility as citizens to participate and advocate. As a civil organization it relentlessly draws attention to peace, security, and human rights issues. North Carolina MAS-Freedom Director Khalilah Sabra, who also serves on the NC Peace Action Board, encourages all North Carolinians to support the civil rights of mentally and physically challenged people in state institutions and those who have mental and physical disabilities. “We must also support in the home under the care of family members. Study after study has shown that there are minimal costs to implementing comprehensive mental health parity that includes all mental illness diagnosis. This is not confined to the state of North Carolina; the lack of appropriate care for those ailing in our society is a national epidemic.  Often being the primary caretakers, mothers are particularly sensitive to the needs of the physically disadvantaged. Why do we spend obsessively on war and neglect the health of our citizens, especially the disadvantaged?”

 

This concern is not gender-based; Bill Towe has been to The Hague for an international peace conference and to the State Fair with a giant inflatable missile. In a lifetime of political activism, he’s worked for the voting rights of African Americans and against nuclear proliferation.

 

Human resource executives rank mental illness as the number one issue affecting indirect costs in a nation survey reported in the most recent issue of Employee Benefit News. Mental illness has more negative effect on productivity, absenteeism and other indirect costs than any other health issue. Treating mental illness early saves lives and it saves money.

 

Interfaith advocates across the country are concerned about rising health care. Members from North Carolina Peace Action, MAS Freedom-NC and Tampa Florida activist Awatef Elmohd are synergizing their efforts to protect the civil rights of the mentally and physically challenged people in state institutions and those who roam the streets without adequate care or protection.  State Representative Lon Burnam from Ft. Worth, Texas is a part of this humanitarian coalition. He recently sponsored the screening of the film “Forgotten Lives” to educate government officials, to call for reform inside these institutions, and to recognize the civil rights of people with disabilities. The film is a documentary that depicts and examines the mistreatment and civil rights violations of people in state mental institutions. In the coming months, a national campaign is underway to the educate thousands of Americans about this critical issue. “It’s not rocket science. Healthcare continues to be an issue that affects the poor and the working class. We’ve studied the issues and pondered solutions that are workable. Our Synergy advocates are asking our national and state representatives to consider strengthening and expanding the current healthcare system through a number of initiatives, including tax incentives for individuals who buy their own health insurance, refundable tax credits for low-income people, pooled healthcare coverage purchasable by small businesses, the self-employed and other individuals, and expanded use of tax-favored health savings accounts. Senator Shaw is among a very select group of leaders who are opposing stagnation. It appears that we need to follow the kind of leadership that takes on issues relevant to the task of doing the right thing.”

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