Urgent help needed! Stop NC lawmakers from removing autism from the Mental Healthy Parity Act

The North Carolina House is about to vote on SB 676. You can find the text and details here.

This bill, in its current form, would strip autism from its diagnosis as a mental disorder along with “substance-related disorders” and “sexual dysfunctions not due to organic disease”. Autism needs to be considered as mental illness diagnosed and defined by the DSM-5 in order for it to be covered under the Mental Health Parity Act.

What does coverage under the Mental Health Parity Act mean? What would autistic individuals lose if this bill were to pass as is? Among other things:

· The designation is relevant in a variety of family court contexts pertaining to divorce, custody, guardianship, and conservatorship.

· Recently, the government announced that federal mental health parity law will now apply to Medicaid. All NC Medicaid beneficiaries will lose the benefit of these protections if this bill becomes law.

· A mental illness designation is relevant in a variety of trust and estate matters.

· A mental illness designation helps determine whether an individual is entitled to special protection under NC’s law dealing with “Assaults on handicapped persons.” (G.S. § 14-32.1, creating harsher punishments for an individual who “inflicts serious injury or serious damage to a handicapped person”).

· If a person with autism has a brush with the law, the “mental illness” legal designation is relevant in determining whether the individual is mentally incompetent to proceed to criminal trial.

· In the event that an individual does stand criminal trial, the mental illness designation is a precursor to a finding that an individual is “not guilty by reason of insanity.” (There is a case pending now where the defense is that the child with autism was incapable of forming the requisite intent for the “criminal” act.)

· Mental health status is relevant as to insurance issues unrelated to the autism bill; for example, NC law prohibits insurers from refusing to enroll an individual in a physical illness/injury plan or having higher premiums for physical coverage solely because the individual has or had a “mental illness.”

· North Carolina law deems “mental illness” relevant in determining whether early repayment of a reverse mortgage loan maybe required (§ 53-267 – Repayment upon borrower’s default).

· Eligibility requirements for NC Supportive Housing Program give priority to individuals diagnosed with mental illness. (G.S. § 122C-20.8)

This bill was sponsered by Blue Cross Blue Shield because it will **allow them to severely limit insurance coverage for autism**.

No other state has ever deliberately stripped autistic people of Mental Health Parity protections. There is absolutely no reason why this should be done.

Please call and email NC lawmakers right now and ask that Mental Health Parity be protected.  Please ask Senator Joyce Krawiec to change her bill to protect autism under the Mental Health Parity Act.

Jay.Adams@ncleg.net, Gale.Adcock@ncleg.net, John.Ager@ncleg.net, Kelly.Alexander@ncleg.net, Dean.Arp@ncleg.net, Marilyn.Avila@ncleg.net, Nathan.Baskerville@ncleg.net, John.Bell@ncleg.net, Larry.Bell@ncleg.net, Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net, Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net, John.Blust@ncleg.net, Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net, John.Bradford@ncleg.net, Bill.Brawley@ncleg.net, William.Brisson@ncleg.net, Cecil.Brockman@ncleg.net, Mark.Brody@ncleg.net, Rayne.Brown@ncleg.net, Brian.Brown@ncleg.net, Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net, Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net, Justin.Burr@ncleg.net, Becky.Carney@ncleg.net, Rick.Catlin@ncleg.net, George.Cleveland@ncleg.net, Jeff.Collins@ncleg.net, Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net, Tricia.Cotham@ncleg.net, Carla.Cunningham@ncleg.net, Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net, Ted.Davis@ncleg.net, Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net, Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net,
Nelson.Dollar@ncleg.net, Beverly.Earle@ncleg.net, Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net, John.Faircloth@ncleg.net, Jean.Farmer-Butterfield@ncleg.net, Susan.Fisher@ncleg.net, Elmer.Floyd@ncleg.net, Carl.Ford@ncleg.net, John.Fraley@ncleg.net, Rosa.Gill@ncleg.net, Rick.Glazier@ncleg.net, Ken.Goodman@ncleg.net, Charles.Graham@ncleg.net, George.Graham@ncleg.net, Mike.Hager@ncleg.net, Duane.Hall@ncleg.net, Larry.Hall@ncleg.net, Susi.Hamilton@ncleg.net, Edward.Hanes@ncleg.net, Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net, Pricey.Harrison@ncleg.net, Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net, Yvonne.Holley@ncleg.net, Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net, Craig.Horn@ncleg.net, Julia.Howard@ncleg.net, Howard.Hunter@ncleg.net, Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net, Frank.Iler@ncleg.net, Verla.Insko@ncleg.net, Darren.Jackson@ncleg.net, Charles.Jeter@ncleg.net, Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net, Ralph.Johnson@ncleg.net, Bert.Jones@ncleg.net, Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net, Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net, James.Langdon@ncleg.net, David.Lewis@ncleg.net, Marvin.Lucas@ncleg.net, Paul.Luebke@ncleg.net, Chris.Malone@ncleg.net, Grier.Martin@ncleg.net, Susan.Martin@ncleg.net, Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net, Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net, Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net, Graig.Meyer@ncleg.net, Mickey.Michaux@ncleg.net, Chris.Millis@ncleg.net, Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net, Tim.Moore@ncleg.net, Gary.Pendleton@ncleg.net, Garland.Pierce@ncleg.net, Larry.Pittman@ncleg.net, Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net, Joe.Queen@ncleg.net, Robert.Reives@ncleg.net, Bobbie.Richardson@ncleg.net, Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net, George.Robinson@ncleg.net, Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net, Jason.Saine@ncleg.net, Brad.Salmon@ncleg.net, Jacqueline.Schaffer@ncleg.net, Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net, Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net, Michael.Speciale@ncleg.net, Paul.Stam@ncleg.net, Bob.Steinburg@ncleg.net, Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net, John.Szoka@ncleg.net, Evelyn.Terry@ncleg.net, Paul.Tine@ncleg.net, John.Torbett@ncleg.net, Brian.Turner@ncleg.net, Rena.Turner@ncleg.net, Ken.Waddell@ncleg.net, Harry.Warren@ncleg.net, Sam.Watford@ncleg.net, Roger.West@ncleg.net, Chris.Whitmire@ncleg.net, Shelly.Willingham@ncleg.net, Michael.Wray@ncleg.net, Larry.Yarborough@ncleg.net, Lee.Zachary@ncleg.net

You can read more details here.

Here’s a sample letter you can send:

Dear Senators, Representatives, and those Interested in Autism Insurance Reform:

Thank you so much for your efforts in joining 41 states in obtaining insurance coverage for autistic individuals. We are delighted to see a bill covering autism insurance pass the senate and reach the house, however, we are concerned with how autism is removed from the federal and state Mental Health Parity Protections Act in this bill. If North Carolina decides that autism is not a brain disorder against all scientific and medical evidence, our children, friends, and family members lose a great deal of protection under the law such as:

·         If a person with autism has a brush with the law, the “mental illness” legal designation is relevant in determining whether the individual is mentally incompetent to proceed to criminal trial.

·         In the event that an individual does stand criminal trial, the mental illness designation is a precursor to a finding that an individual is “not guilty by reason of insanity.” (There is a case pending now where the defense is that the child with autism was incapable of forming the requisite intent for the “criminal” act.)

·         Mental health status is relevant as to insurance issues unrelated to the autism bill; for example, NC law prohibits insurers from refusing to enroll an individual in a physical illness/injury plan or having higher premiums for physical coverage solely because the individual has or had a “mental illness.”

·         Eligibility requirements for NC Supportive Housing Program give priority to individuals diagnosed with mental illness.  (G.S. § 122C-20.8)

·         A mental illness designation is relevant to a finding that an individual lacks the capacity to manage the individual’s own affairs.

Please remove the section of this bill that would strip autistic individuals of protection under the Mental Health Parity Act.

Thank you for your time,

Comments

  1. Deborah Gott says:

    I have two children with autism and they need mental health services sometimes. Please don’t do this despicable thing.

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