Christopher Lucero | Hyperbole Reigns Supreme

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Unbelievable. Once again, hyperbole and false claims rule the local Republican cabal’s misinformation campaigns.

Literally the entire cabal’s membership showed up to gripe that “12-year-olds will be able to consent to mental health services without parental consent.” Widely refuted by the Associated Press news and nearly every childhood advocacy organization as a falsehood, The Signal lined up tract after tract before the editorial board also joined the frenzy.

Around half of 12-year-olds already have that right enshrined in California law, under a specific limited set of conditions … IF they have private health insurance.

According to the analyses, Assembly Bill 665 merely aligns two parts of statutory detail to allow Medi-Cal-insured youth the same access as their peers who are covered by private health insurance. (See “Bill Analysis” at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.) In the text of the bill, immediately, in Section 1b, it states that “roughly one-half of California’s children are covered by Medi-Cal.”

We would presume Sen. Scott Wilk reads, at a minimum, the analyses of bills, if not the bills themselves, so it is an egregious act of misdirection and omission of relevant facts when he joins in the Republican distortion. Not exactly a lie, but very very far from truth.

The deception would have been clear to anyone who bothered to examine the AB665 text or the legislative analyses,.

Both the California Senate and Assembly floor analyses of AB665 summarize: “These changes will allow minors covered by Medi-Cal the same access to mental health services as their non-Medi-Cal peers and provide greater protections for adolescents who have nowhere else to go.”

The Assembly Floor analysis states more clearly: “This bill merely eliminates the unfair and arbitrary distinction that the law makes between minors who are Medi-Cal-eligible and those who are not.”

Also: “An opponent of this bill claims that this bill denies parents their right to determine what is best for the child. However, this bill does not change the policy in favor of obtaining parental consent. This bill leaves in place the presumption in favor of parental involvement unless the therapist determines that parental involvement would be inappropriate. Moreover, existing law already allows young people 12 years of age and older to consent to mental health treatment if they are mature enough to intelligently participate, and if parental involvement would be inappropriate.”

And finally: AB665 “… merely aligns the older Family Code provision with the newer Health and Safety Code provision. By doing so, it does not change the balance between favoring parental involvement, on the one hand, and the recognition that notifying a parent is not always in the best interests of the child, and in some cases may even endanger the child’s safety, on the other hand. This bill simply eliminates discrimination against minors from the lower-income families who qualify for Medi-Cal.”

Recent letters express the stress and effect upon mental health of survivors of the Saugus High School shooting four years ago. These sympathies and expressions are ignored when Republicans expressly intend to deny about half of all students — the poorer ones — equal access to mental health care.

Helping the poor — generally — is a charitable, perhaps Christian act. And here we have the entire local Republican caste AND The Signal editorial board acting to subdue the poor, to limit their equality, to make services unavailable based upon the privilege of private insurance.

Christopher Lucero

Saugus  

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