Monday, May 14, 2007

H973: save our Senator Nesbitt:the ballad of Nesbitt Jr.'s BCBS ADVANTA race car :PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME SPILL MY MACHIATO w/the clock runnning out

In the Ballad of Ricky-Bobby, 'Taladega Nights', a movie about NASCAR racing (how much more NC can you get), Sasha Baron-Cohen plays a suave, gay racer who, while handling the steering wheel, reads books on existentialism while drinking his machiato----over the deafening sound of hellbent NASCAR drivers. Yes, it was filmed in NC.

Accordingly, this post is not going to make me better friends with Senator Nesbitt, who is the co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on mental health reform. I like him, his candor, and the way he helped shove Hooker Odom out the door. He stated that she would not listen to the Joint Legislative Committee which is chaired by he and Verla Insko.

I had to step very carefully today when I called Nesbitt's office and talked to Janlee, his mental health legislative person, as I tried to ask if perhaps Senator Nesbitt could call on some of his colleagues in order to slide H973 thru the Insurance Committee of the House. I am admittedly a novice about just how much arm-twisting is too much. Unfortunately, we don't have any time left and so instead of letting the opportunity slip away, I thought maybe the ADVANTA car picture could cause the BCBS vampire to throw up the cape and run back into the tomb from which it came.

Contrarily, Representative Alexander's office legislative aide, Ann, as well as Rep Goforth's aide, Ann Jordan, thought the picture of Nesbitt Jr's ADVANTA car was pretty funny: SEE IT HERE, while its still on the internet.

I can't seem to get a screen capture to pick it up. You'd better hurry; it may be like that screen saved OH vote during the 2004 presidential election which was made by Mark Crispin Miller: one minute its there, and then 1.5 hrs later, the other guy won

H973 is not even in the Senate yet---where Nesbitt is. There are


to move this mental health parity bill thru both houses. Tomorrow, at 11 a.m., it goes to the Insurance Committee of the NC House.

Rep Goforth, from Asheville, via his assistant Ann, has stated that she has placed the following information forward to me by Cook, JD, working mental health parity at the American Psychological Association, in the folders of each of the NC House representatives serving on the Insurance Committee:

"What have States Done to Ensure Insurance Parity?"

I asked her if she was also going to place in the Insurance Committee members folders the picture of Nesbitt, Jr's ADVANTA race car.

According to this map with some significant detail, only 2 states have parity that does not cover substance abuse, specifically, NM and WA. Others have addressed concerns about funding by placing various caps in coverage.

This comes on the heels of Chris Fitzsimmons TODAY, of NC Policy outlining the gnarly visage of Blue Cross / Blue Shield (BCBS) stealth behind the scenes as re: parity and the passage of this specific bill and particularly as associated with this Insurance Committee which has a record, apparently, of blocking bills that will cause the insurance industry to spend money. Remember, it was Verla Insko who has stated that 'the insurance companies have too much power in this state":

".....Any hopes, however, that the Health Committee vote had sent the long sought measure on its way toward swift passage were quickly dashed last week by reports emanating from the House Insurance Committee (the bill’s next stop on the legislative carousel). Like a lot of “business” committees in the General Assembly, the Insurance Committee has traditionally been viewed as a place in which the insurance industry will almost always get its way. It appears to be living up to its reputation.

According to the reports from advocates and observers, the parity bill has run into strong opposition from the health insurance lobby, which almost always chafes at any effort by public officials and institutions to regulate the terms and conditions of the services it sells – even when the requirements apply to the entire industry or, as in the case of the state’s biggest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BC/BS), profit is not an issue.

Though unwilling to publicly admit their opposition or spell out their concerns for fear of negative PR, the industry appears nonetheless to have forced a halt to the bill’s progress while it draws up and puts forward a “compromise” version. With the legislature’s so called “crossover deadline” just 10 days away (after a one week extension last week), proponents are concerned that the industry may be attempting to “run out the clock.” "

. Moreover, H973 now has the backing of now only the NC Psychological Association but Western NC Psychological Association----amongst many other groups.

Its the 11th hour....the foam on my machiato has dissipated. Will the Insurance Committee of the NC House pass H973??

Here are the people on that committee; it might be best to call your own representative also:
HERE ARE THE E MAIL ADDRESSES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE INSURANCE COMMITTEE FOR THE NC HOUSE. The mental health parity bill is: H973. All the members of the committee's e mail addresses are below.
Rep. Goforth
Rep. Holliman
Vice Chairman
Rep. Bryant
Vice Chairman
Rep. Dickson
Vice Chairman
Rep. Dockham
Vice Chairman
Rep. Setzer


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