Myth About Trump’s Unilateral Rescinding Obama’s Mental Health Law

Rush Limbaugh dismantles a lie from the Left expressed by Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue regarding Trump’s first few days in office and his rescinding an Obama era bill that was an Executive Order.

If the Left do not like this legal snafu of one President rescinding another’s E.O., pass laws through Congress dammit! U-n-l-e-s-s they just want to u-s-e the controversy to support their wild positions that have no reality in the real world. Here are the organizations who supported Trump’s action (via the WASHINGTON FREE BEACON):

Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union opposed the rule and called for its repeal because the process did not include sufficient due process protections.

  • “The rule includes no meaningful due process protections prior to the SSA’s transmittal of names to the NICS database,” the group said in their letter. “The determination by SSA line staff that a beneficiary needs a representative payee to manage their money benefit is simply not an ‘adjudication’ in any ordinary meaning of the word. Nor is it a determination that the person ‘[l]acks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs’ as required by the NICS. Indeed, the law and the SSA clearly state that representative payees are appointed for many individuals who are legally competent.”

The National Council on DisabilityConsortium for Citizens With Disabilities, and National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery all submitted letters calling for the reversal of the rule during hearings conducted by the Ways and Means Committee….

The WASHINGTON EXAMINER also looks into the pressure from right and left organizations

….This is why America’s new favorite charity, the American Civil Liberties Union (along with many other groups that are not particularly conservative or pertinent to gun rights per se) advocated and wrote in favor of what House Republicans did yesterday. This is from the ACLU’s letter of support:

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), we urge members of the House of Representatives to support the resolution disapproving the final rule of the Social Security Administration which implements the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendment Acts of 2007….

In December 2016, the SSA promulgated a final rule that would require the names of all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit recipients – who, because of a mental impairment, use a representative payee to help manage their benefits – be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used during gun purchases.

We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent. There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence. The rule further demonstrates the damaging phenomenon of “spread,” or the perception that a disabled individual with one area of impairment automatically has additional, negative and unrelated attributes. Here, the rule automatically conflates one disability-related characteristic, that is, difficulty managing money, with the inability to safely possess a firearm.

The rule includes no meaningful due process protections prior to the SSA’s transmittal of names to the NICS database. The determination by SSA line staff that a beneficiary needs a representative payee to manage their money benefit is simply not an “adjudication” in any ordinary meaning of the word. Nor is it a determination that the person “[l]acks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs” as required by the NICS. Indeed, the law and the SSA clearly state that representative payees are appointed for many individuals who are legally competent

…[R]egulation of firearms and individual gun ownership or use must be consistent with civil liberties principles, such as due process, equal protection, freedom from unlawful searches, and privacy. All individuals have the right to be judged on the basis of their individual capabilities, not the characteristics and capabilities that are sometimes attributed (often mistakenly) to any group or class to which they belong. A disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic per se denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.

So, if you donated the ACLU after President Trump’s executive travel ban, congratulations. Yesterday’s vote was your victory, too…..

The WASHINGTON TIMES also brings some historical clarity to the issue:

In recent years, advocates for the mentally ill created more boundaries for law enforcement and healthcare workers to forcibly hospitalize Americans who are suspected of being a danger to both themselves and others. The 1966 Lanterman Petris Short Act (LPS Act) was California legislation designed to reform the antiquated state of mental institutions in the state. 

It should be noted that LPS was signed by Governor Reagan in California but only after pressure from groups like the ACLU stepped in and sued on behalf of patients who were being involuntarily hospitalized. Other states followed suit with their own similar involuntary and voluntary commitment statutes.

According to U.S. Veteran’s Affairs, “Maurice Rodgers, spokesman for the California State Psychological Association, called the plan the “Magna Carta of the Mentally Ill,” while the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), officially in support of the legislation, raised objection to the fact that the patient had to personally petition for a due process hearing at the initial point in the commitment. 

Tying this all together for us is THE CZAR OF MUSCOVY:

….Later, the Carter administration signed into law the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980, which largely promoted the same idea for national facilities. In 1981, when both parties in Congress agreed to the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, President Reagan signed that into law. One of it many provisions was to eliminate federal funding for community services and thereby transfer funding back to individual funding or state-funded efforts. Had Reagan even been aware of that part of the Act, he would have immediately realized the Act was negating the disastrous effects of the LPS he experienced as governor of California.

In other words, the State needs more funding control over mental health facilities, whether local, community, or state. Serious cases could still be funded through Medicaid, creating a virtual federal funding pool of money. This was formalized in the Mental Health Planning Act of 1986.

In effect, bipartisan policies recommended that the Federal government transfer government funding of community mental health facilities back to the states. State-funded facilities as well as privately-funded facilities were not affected by that policy. Reagan signed the bill into law as part of an overall spending cut package. As he would have known, complete state funding of facilities resulted in terrible mental healthcare, but state governments had an obligation to provide for this. However, in 1986, he also signed into a law another bipartisan solution to have Medicaid assist with funding. The laws closed not a single facility.

Ergo, to the liberals, REAGAN CLOSED THE MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES. The fact that states closed some facilities and let staff go at others due to their own budget issues is unimportant because, of course, liberals hated Reagan. And still do.

[…..]

So when you hear the argument that Reagan closed the mental health facilities, ask the name of one health facility that Reagan actually closed. And when it closed. And how he closed it. And if you hear that Reagan closed it by extenuation of a funding cut, ask which particular bill he signed into law specified that particular facility be closed.

Or is it a case that bipartisan governments at the state and federal levels attempted to improve healthcare treatment and that bipartisan governments within the states screwed things up so badly that individual departments of health closed down less effective facilities? You will have lost the typical liberal at the word bipartisan….

A lifelong Democrat at the DAILY JOURNAL LETTERS ties this all in a neat bow for us:

As a lifelong Democrat (of the Irish-Catholic-Labor variety), I think Reagan did some good things and other things I didn’t support. But one thing Reagan didn’t do was single-handedly “close down” mental hospitals thus triggering 40 years of mental health hell.

Two other forces actually determined the fate of mental health care in this state. You might call them acts with unintended consequences. Here’s the history.

In 1967, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS Act) a so-called “bill of rights” for those with mental health problems passed the Democratic-controlled Assembly: 77-1. The Senate approved it by similar margins. Then-Gov. Reagan signed it into law.

It was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank Lanterman, a Republican, and California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris and Alan Short, both Democrats. LPS went into full effect on July 1, 1972.

The bipartisan law came about because of concerns about the involuntary civil commitment to mental health institutions in California. At the time, the act was thought by many to be a progressive blueprint for modern mental health commitment procedures, not only in California, but in the United States.

Its main purposes were:

  • To end the inappropriate, indefinite, and involuntary commitment of mentally disordered persons, people with developmental disabilities, and persons impaired by chronic alcoholism, and to eliminate legal disabilities;
  • To provide prompt evaluation and treatment of persons with serious mental disorders or impaired by chronic alcoholism;
  • To guarantee and protect public safety;
  • To safeguard individual rights through judicial review;
  • To provide individualized treatment, supervision, and placement services by a conservatorship program for gravely disabled persons;
  • To encourage the full use of all existing agencies, professional personnel and public funds to accomplish these objectives and to prevent duplication of services and unnecessary expenditures;
  • To protect mentally disordered persons and developmentally disabled persons from criminal acts.

Initially, mental health advocates pushed for community-based mental health facilities that would replace the closed mental hospitals.

But that never happened because even though post-Reagan the legislature was still controlled by Democrats, no major funding for new community-based mental health facilities ever occurred. And that situation basically is still the case today.

The second force at work in the mental health care issue were the courts and what is known as “deinstitutionalization.”

During the 1960s, many people began accusing state mental hospitals of violating the civil rights of patients. Some families did, of course, commit incorrigible teenagers or eccentric relatives to years of involuntary confinement and unspeakable treatment. Nurse Ratched, the sadistic nurse famously portrayed in the book and film “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” became a symbol of institutional indifference to the mentally ill.

By the late 1960s, the idea that the mentally ill were not so different from the rest of us, or perhaps were even a little bit more sane, became trendy. Reformers dreamed of taking the mentally ill out of the large institutions and housing them in smaller, community-based residences where they could live more productive and fulfilling lives.

A mental patient could be held for 72 hours only if he or she engaged in an act of serious violence or demonstrated a likelihood of suicide or an inability to provide their own food, shelter or clothing due to mental illness. But 72 hours was rarely enough time to stabilize someone be held another two weeks for evaluation and treatment.

As a practical matter, involuntary commitment was no longer a plausible option…..

Facebook Comments