Skip to main content

(This story originally appeared at Facing South.)

When reporters asked former Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin where she got the misinformation she posted to her Facebook page about the health care reform bill creating a "death panel" to promote euthanizing the elderly and people with disabilities, her spokesperson pointed to the section in the House Democrats' legislation that begins on page 425.

If Palin or her staff had actually read the bill, they would have realized this section simply promotes advance care planning, which in fact puts the power to make decisions about end-of-life care in the hands of individuals -- not government panels.

So where did Palin get that bad information? It appears she pulled it from a set of talking points that has been making its way around the internet in recent weeks -- talking points assembled by the Liberty Counsel, a far-right religious group that's part of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University empire based in Lynchburg, Va.

Founded in 1989, the Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit law firm and public policy organization with offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Its founder and chairman is Mathew D. Staver (in photo), who also serves as the dean of Liberty University School of Law, and its president is Staver's wife, attorney Anita L. Staver. Before becoming a lawyer, Mathew Staver was a pastor in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a conservative Protestant sect that believes in the infallibility of the Bible.

Liberty Counsel established its reputation with lawsuits successfully challenging the division of church and state and became affiliated with Liberty University/Falwell Ministries in 2004. Before he died in 2007, Falwell said that he could "think of no greater work being done right now in America for the sake of our religious freedom and Christian heritage than that being done by Liberty Counsel."

The group made the news recently for its legal fight in Florida against a gay couple who received a judge's permission to adopt two children they helped rescue from a crack house. It's also won widespread attention for its Help Save Christmas® campaign as well as its annual Day of Purity™ promoting sexual abstinence among youth.

On July 29, 2009, Liberty Counsel released its talking points about the health care reform bill. Among the many parts of the legislation it raises concerns about is the page cited by Palin, about which it states:

*  Sec. 1233, Pg. 425, Lines 4-12 - Government mandates Advance (Death) Care Planning consultation. Think Senior Citizens and end of life. END-OF-LIFE COUNSELING. SOME IN THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE ALREADY DISCUSSED RATIONING HEALTH CARE FOR THE ELDERLY.

* Sec. 1233, Pg. 425, Lines 17-19 - Government WILL instruct and consult regarding living wills and durable powers of attorney. Mandatory end-of-life planning!

* Sec. 1233, Pg. 425-426, Lines 22-25, 1-3 - Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.

The section of the bill referred to does nothing resembling "rationing health care for the elderly" or "guiding you in death." As we already noted, it simply promotes advance care planning under the Medicare program by encouraging doctors to discuss with their patients advance directives such as living wills and durable powers of attorney -- legal documents that give individuals the power to state what they want in advance so that decision isn't left up to anyone else. You can read the entire bill with the pertinent page numbers here [pdf].

That got us wondering: What other distortions are contained in Liberty Counsel's talking points? We decided to fact-check some of the document's wilder claims against the actual text of the health care bill:

* THE CLAIM: "Sec. 122, Pg. 29, Lines 4-16 - YOUR HEALTH CARE WILL BE RATIONED!"

* THE FACTS: This refers to a section in Subtitle C of the legislation, which sets standards guaranteeing access to essential benefits. The lines the Liberty Counsel's talking point refers to actually limit the costs a family in a covered plan can be required to share in order to receive essential benefits. It does nothing to "ration" health care.

* THE CLAIM: "Sec. 1177, Pg. 354 - Government will RESTRICT enrollment of special needs people! 'Extension of Authority of Special Needs Plans to Restrict Enrollment.'"

* THE FACTS: This piece of the legislation refers to a section of the Social Security Act governing insurance for the elderly and disabled. It grandfathers in certain plans that already had contracts to run integrated Medicaid-Medicare programs for the impoverished elderly, and it requires the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the impact of those plans. It restricts no one's enrollment in anything.

* THE CLAIM: "Sec. 1308, Pg. 489 - The government will cover Marriage and Family therapy. This will involve government control of your marriage."

* THE FACTS: This section of the bill does provide for insurance coverage of marriage and family therapy -- but by licensed, certified therapists, not government agents.

As this quick fact-check shows, the Liberty Counsel's talking points appear to have been assembled by someone who is either only barely literate or who simply scanned the document for language that could be twisted to serve their own propaganda purposes, with little regard for what the legislation actually says.

Either way, the document reflects poorly on the Liberty Counsel, and by extension Liberty University. We have a call in to Liberty Counsel Media Director Tessa Sturgill and will let you know what we hear from her.

To fight against the kind of blatant distortions being propagated by the Liberty Counsel and others, the White House has launched "Health Insurance Reform Reality Check," in which experts take on various pieces of misinformation being spread about the legislation.

(Photo of Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew D. Staver from the group's website.)

Originally posted to Sue Sturgis on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:44 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  Here's the text of sec. 1233, so people can check (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxado, allep10, sullivanst

      the text for themselves:

      SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION.

           (a) Medicare-

                 (1) IN GENERAL- Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended--

                       (A) in subsection (s)(2)--

                             (i) by striking `and' at the end of subparagraph (DD);

                             (ii) by adding `and' at the end of subparagraph (EE); and

                             (iii) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

                 `(FF) advance care planning consultation (as defined in subsection (hhh)(1));'; and

                       (B) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

      `Advance Care Planning Consultation

           `(hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term `advance care planning consultation' means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:

                 `(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.

                 `(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.

                 `(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.

                 `(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965).

                 `(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.

                 `(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders, which shall include--

                       `(I) the reasons why the development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the individual's family and the reasons why such an order should be updated periodically as the health of the individual changes;

                       `(II) the information needed for an individual or legal surrogate to make informed decisions regarding the completion of such an order; and

                       `(III) the identification of resources that an individual may use to determine the requirements of the State in which such individual resides so that the treatment wishes of that individual will be carried out if the individual is unable to communicate those wishes, including requirements regarding the designation of a surrogate decisionmaker (also known as a health care proxy).

                 `(ii) The Secretary shall limit the requirement for explanations under clause (i) to consultations furnished in a State--

                       `(I) in which all legal barriers have been addressed for enabling orders for life sustaining treatment to constitute a set of medical orders respected across all care settings; and

                       `(II) that has in effect a program for orders for life sustaining treatment described in clause (iii).

                 `(iii) A program for orders for life sustaining treatment for a States described in this clause is a program that--

                       `(I) ensures such orders are standardized and uniquely identifiable throughout the State;

                       `(II) distributes or makes accessible such orders to physicians and other health professionals that (acting within the scope of the professional's authority under State law) may sign orders for life sustaining treatment;

                       `(III) provides training for health care professionals across the continuum of care about the goals and use of orders for life sustaining treatment; and

                       `(IV) is guided by a coalition of stakeholders includes representatives from emergency medical services, emergency department physicians or nurses, state long-term care association, state medical association, state surveyors, agency responsible for senior services, state department of health, state hospital association, home health association, state bar association, and state hospice association.

           `(2) A practitioner described in this paragraph is--

                 `(A) a physician (as defined in subsection (r)(1)); and

                 `(B) a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant who has the authority under State law to sign orders for life sustaining treatments.

           `(3)(A) An initial preventive physical examination under subsection (WW), including any related discussion during such examination, shall not be considered an advance care planning consultation for purposes of applying the 5-year limitation under paragraph (1).

           `(B) An advance care planning consultation with respect to an individual may be conducted more frequently than provided under paragraph (1) if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual, including diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease, a life-threatening or terminal diagnosis or life-threatening injury, or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility (as defined by the Secretary), or a hospice program.

           `(4) A consultation under this subsection may include the formulation of an order regarding life sustaining treatment or a similar order.

           `(5)(A) For purposes of this section, the term `order regarding life sustaining treatment' means, with respect to an individual, an actionable medical order relating to the treatment of that individual that--

                 `(i) is signed and dated by a physician (as defined in subsection (r)(1)) or another health care professional (as specified by the Secretary and who is acting within the scope of the professional's authority under State law in signing such an order, including a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) and is in a form that permits it to stay with the individual and be followed by health care professionals and providers across the continuum of care;

                 `(ii) effectively communicates the individual's preferences regarding life sustaining treatment, including an indication of the treatment and care desired by the individual;

                 `(iii) is uniquely identifiable and standardized within a given locality, region, or State (as identified by the Secretary); and

                 `(iv) may incorporate any advance directive (as defined in section 1866(f)(3)) if executed by the individual.

           `(B) The level of treatment indicated under subparagraph (A)(ii) may range from an indication for full treatment to an indication to limit some or all or specified interventions. Such indicated levels of treatment may include indications respecting, among other items--

                 `(i) the intensity of medical intervention if the patient is pulse less, apneic, or has serious cardiac or pulmonary problems;

                 `(ii) the individual's desire regarding transfer to a hospital or remaining at the current care setting;

                 `(iii) the use of antibiotics; and

                 `(iv) the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.'.

                 (2) PAYMENT- Section 1848(j)(3) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4(j)(3)) is amended by inserting `(2)(FF),' after `(2)(EE),'.

                 (3) FREQUENCY LIMITATION- Section 1862(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395y(a)) is amended--

                       (A) in paragraph (1)--

                             (i) in subparagraph (N), by striking `and' at the end;

                             (ii) in subparagraph (O) by striking the semicolon at the end and inserting `, and'; and

                             (iii) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

                       `(P) in the case of advance care planning consultations (as defined in section 1861(hhh)(1)), which are performed more frequently than is covered under such section;'; and

                       (B) in paragraph (7), by striking `or (K)' and inserting `(K), or (P)'.

                 (4) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to consultations furnished on or after January 1, 2011.

           (b) Expansion of Physician Quality Reporting Initiative for End of Life Care-

                 (1) Physician'S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE- Section 1848(k)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4(k)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

                 `(3) Physician'S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE-

                       `(A) IN GENERAL- For purposes of reporting data on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available, the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate. Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life-sustaining treatment.

                       `(B) PROPOSED SET OF MEASURES- The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register proposed quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that the Secretary determines are described in subparagraph (A) and would be appropriate for eligible professionals to use to submit data to the Secretary. The Secretary shall provide for a period of public comment on such set of measures before finalizing such proposed measures.'.

           (c) Inclusion of Information in Medicare & You Handbook-

                 (1) MEDICARE & YOU HANDBOOK-

                       (A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall update the online version of the Medicare & You Handbook to include the following:

                             (i) An explanation of advance care planning and advance directives, including--

                                   (I) living wills;

                                   (II) durable power of attorney;

                                   (III) orders of life-sustaining treatment; and

                                   (IV) health care proxies.

                             (ii) A description of Federal and State resources available to assist individuals and their families with advance care planning and advance directives, including--

                                   (I) available State legal service organizations to assist individuals with advance care planning, including those organizations that receive funding pursuant to the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 93001 et seq.);

                                   (II) website links or addresses for State-specific advance directive forms; and

                                   (III) any additional information, as determined by the Secretary.

                       (B) UPDATE OF PAPER AND SUBSEQUENT VERSIONS- The Secretary shall include the information described in subparagraph (A) in all paper and electronic versions of the Medicare & You Handbook that are published on or after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:58:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And here's the text of sec. 122 of the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxado, allep10, sullivanst

        bill:

        SEC. 122. ESSENTIAL BENEFITS PACKAGE DEFINED.

             (a) In General- In this division, the term `essential benefits package' means health benefits coverage, consistent with standards adopted under section 124 to ensure the provision of quality health care and financial security, that--

                   (1) provides payment for the items and services described in subsection (b) in accordance with generally accepted standards of medical or other appropriate clinical or professional practice;

                   (2) limits cost-sharing for such covered health care items and services in accordance with such benefit standards, consistent with subsection (c);

                   (3) does not impose any annual or lifetime limit on the coverage of covered health care items and services;

                   (4) complies with section 115(a) (relating to network adequacy); and

                   (5) is equivalent, as certified by Office of the Actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to the average prevailing employer-sponsored coverage.

             (b) Minimum Services To Be Covered- The items and services described in this subsection are the following:

                   (1) Hospitalization.

                   (2) Outpatient hospital and outpatient clinic services, including emergency department services.

                   (3) Professional services of physicians and other health professionals.

                   (4) Such services, equipment, and supplies incident to the services of a physician's or a health professional's delivery of care in institutional settings, physician offices, patients' homes or place of residence, or other settings, as appropriate.

                   (5) Prescription drugs.

                   (6) Rehabilitative and habilitative services.

                   (7) Mental health and substance use disorder services.

                   (8) Preventive services, including those services recommended with a grade of A or B by the Task Force on Clinical Preventive Services and those vaccines recommended for use by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

                   (9) Maternity care.

                   (10) Well baby and well child care and oral health, vision, and hearing services, equipment, and supplies at least for children under 21 years of age.

             (c) Requirements Relating to Cost-sharing and Minimum Actuarial Value-

                   (1) NO COST-SHARING FOR PREVENTIVE SERVICES- There shall be no cost-sharing under the essential benefits package for preventive items and services (as specified under the benefit standards), including well baby and well child care.

                   (2) ANNUAL LIMITATION-

                         (A) ANNUAL LIMITATION- The cost-sharing incurred under the essential benefits package with respect to an individual (or family) for a year does not exceed the applicable level specified in subparagraph (B).

                         (B) APPLICABLE LEVEL- The applicable level specified in this subparagraph for Y1 is $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. Such levels shall be increased (rounded to the nearest $100) for each subsequent year by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (United States city average) applicable to such year.

                         (C) USE OF COPAYMENTS- In establishing cost-sharing levels for basic, enhanced, and premium plans under this subsection, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent possible, use only copayments and not coinsurance.

                   (3) MINIMUM ACTUARIAL VALUE-

                         (A) IN GENERAL- The cost-sharing under the essential benefits package shall be designed to provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 70 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in subparagraph (B).

                         (B) REFERENCE BENEFITS PACKAGE DESCRIBED- The reference benefits package described in this subparagraph is the essential benefits package if there were no cost-sharing imposed.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:01:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And here is sec. 1177 of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxado, sullivanst

          bill:

          SEC. 1177. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY OF SPECIAL NEEDS PLANS TO RESTRICT ENROLLMENT.

               (a) In General- Section 1859(f)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-28(f)(1)) is amended by striking `January 1, 2011' and inserting `January 1, 2013 (or January 1, 2016, in the case of a plan described in section 1177(b)(1) of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009)'.

               (b) Grandfathering of Certain Plans-

                     (1) PLANS DESCRIBED- For purposes of section 1859(f)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-28(f)(1)), a plan described in this paragraph is a plan that had a contract with a State that had a State program to operate an integrated Medicaid-Medicare program that had been approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as of January 1, 2004.

                     (2) ANALYSIS; REPORT- The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide, through a contract with an independent health services evaluation organization, for an analysis of the plans described in paragraph (1) with regard to the impact of such plans on cost, quality of care, patient satisfaction, and other subjects as specified by the Secretary. Not later than December 31, 2011, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on such analysis and shall include in such report such recommendations with regard to the treatment of such plans as the Secretary deems appropriate.

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:04:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And here is sec. 1308 of the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xaxado, allep10

            bill:

            SEC. 1308. COVERAGE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST SERVICES AND MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR SERVICES.

                 (a) Coverage of Marriage and Family Therapist Services-

                       (1) COVERAGE OF SERVICES- Section 1861(s)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(s)(2)), as amended by section 1235, is amended--

                             (A) in subparagraph (EE), by striking `and' at the end;

                             (B) in subparagraph (FF), by adding `and' at the end; and

                             (C) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

                             `(GG) marriage and family therapist services (as defined in subsection (jjj));'.

                       (2) DEFINITION- Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x), as amended by sections 1235 and 1305, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

            `Marriage and Family Therapist Services

                 `(jjj)(1) The term `marriage and family therapist services' means services performed by a marriage and family therapist (as defined in paragraph (2)) for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, which the marriage and family therapist is legally authorized to perform under State law (or the State regulatory mechanism provided by State law) of the State in which such services are performed, as would otherwise be covered if furnished by a physician or as incident to a physician's professional service, but only if no facility or other provider charges or is paid any amounts with respect to the furnishing of such services.

                 `(2) The term `marriage and family therapist' means an individual who--

                       `(A) possesses a master's or doctoral degree which qualifies for licensure or certification as a marriage and family therapist pursuant to State law;

                       `(B) after obtaining such degree has performed at least 2 years of clinical supervised experience in marriage and family therapy; and

                       `(C) is licensed or certified as a marriage and family therapist in the State in which marriage and family therapist services are performed.'.

                       (3) PROVISION FOR PAYMENT UNDER PART B- Section 1832(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395k(a)(2)(B)) is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:

                                   `(v) marriage and family therapist services;'.

                       (4) AMOUNT OF PAYMENT-

                             (A) IN GENERAL- Section 1833(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(a)(1)) is amended--

                                   (i) by striking `and' before `(W)'; and

                                   (ii) by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: `, and (X) with respect to marriage and family therapist services under section 1861(s)(2)(GG), the amounts paid shall be 80 percent of the lesser of the actual charge for the services or 75 percent of the amount determined for payment of a psychologist under clause (L)'.

                             (B) DEVELOPMENT OF CRITERIA WITH RESPECT TO CONSULTATION WITH A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL- The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, taking into consideration concerns for patient confidentiality, develop criteria with respect to payment for marriage and family therapist services for which payment may be made directly to the marriage and family therapist under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395j et seq.) under which such a therapist must agree to consult with a patient's attending or primary care physician or nurse practitioner in accordance with such criteria.

                       (5) EXCLUSION OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST SERVICES FROM SKILLED NURSING FACILITY PROSPECTIVE PAYMENT SYSTEM- Section 1888(e)(2)(A)(ii) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395yy(e)(2)(A)(ii)), as amended by section 1307(a), is amended by inserting `marriage and family therapist services (as defined in subsection (jjj)(1)),' after `clinical social worker services,'.

                       (6) COVERAGE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST SERVICES PROVIDED IN RURAL HEALTH CLINICS AND FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTERS- Section 1861(aa)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(aa)(1)(B)) is amended by striking `or by a clinical social worker (as defined in subsection (hh)(1)),' and inserting `, by a clinical social worker (as defined in subsection (hh)(1)), or by a marriage and family therapist (as defined in subsection (jjj)(2)),'.

                       (7) INCLUSION OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS AS PRACTITIONERS FOR ASSIGNMENT OF CLAIMS- Section 1842(b)(18)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395u(b)(18)(C)) is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:

                       `(vii) A marriage and family therapist (as defined in section 1861(jjj)(2)).'.

                 (b) Coverage of Mental Health Counselor Services-

                       (1) COVERAGE OF SERVICES- Section 1861(s)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(s)(2)), as previously amended, is further amended--

                             (A) in subparagraph (FF), by striking `and' at the end;

                             (B) in subparagraph (GG), by inserting `and' at the end; and

                             (C) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

                       `(HH) mental health counselor services (as defined in subsection (kkk)(1));'.

                       (2) DEFINITION- Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x), as previously amended, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

            `Mental Health Counselor Services

                 `(kkk)(1) The term `mental health counselor services' means services performed by a mental health counselor (as defined in paragraph (2)) for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses which the mental health counselor is legally authorized to perform under State law (or the State regulatory mechanism provided by the State law) of the State in which such services are performed, as would otherwise be covered if furnished by a physician or as incident to a physician's professional service, but only if no facility or other provider charges or is paid any amounts with respect to the furnishing of such services.

                 `(2) The term `mental health counselor' means an individual who--

                       `(A) possesses a master's or doctor's degree which qualifies the individual for licensure or certification for the practice of mental health counseling in the State in which the services are performed;

                       `(B) after obtaining such a degree has performed at least 2 years of supervised mental health counselor practice; and

                       `(C) is licensed or certified as a mental health counselor or professional counselor by the State in which the services are performed.'.

                       (3) PROVISION FOR PAYMENT UNDER PART B- Section 1832(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395k(a)(2)(B)), as amended by subsection (a)(3), is further amended--

                             (A) by striking `and' at the end of clause (iv);

                             (B) by adding `and' at the end of clause (v); and

                             (C) by adding at the end the following new clause:

                                   `(vi) mental health counselor services;'.

                       (4) AMOUNT OF PAYMENT-

                             (A) IN GENERAL- Section 1833(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(a)(1)), as amended by subsection (a), is further amended--

                                   (i) by striking `and'before `(X)'; and

                                   (ii) by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: `, and (Y), with respect to mental health counselor services under section 1861(s)(2)(HH), the amounts paid shall be 80 percent of the lesser of the actual charge for the services or 75 percent of the amount determined for payment of a psychologist under clause (L)'.

                             (B) DEVELOPMENT OF CRITERIA WITH RESPECT TO CONSULTATION WITH A PHYSICIAN- The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, taking into consideration concerns for patient confidentiality, develop criteria with respect to payment for mental health counselor services for which payment may be made directly to the mental health counselor under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395j et seq.) under which such a counselor must agree to consult with a patient's attending or primary care physician in accordance with such criteria.

                       (5) EXCLUSION OF MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR SERVICES FROM SKILLED NURSING FACILITY PROSPECTIVE PAYMENT SYSTEM- Section 1888(e)(2)(A)(ii) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395yy(e)(2)(A)(ii)), as amended by section 1307(a) and subsection (a), is amended by inserting `mental health counselor services (as defined in section 1861(kkk)(1)),' after `marriage and family therapist services (as defined in subsection (jjj)(1)),'.

                       (6) COVERAGE OF MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR SERVICES PROVIDED IN RURAL HEALTH CLINICS AND FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTERS- Section 1861(aa)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(aa)(1)(B)), as amended by subsection (a), is amended by striking `or by a marriage and family therapist (as defined in subsection (jjj)(2)),' and inserting `by a marriage and family therapist (as defined in subsection (jjj)(2)), or a mental health counselor (as defined in subsection (kkk)(2)),'.

                       (7) INCLUSION OF MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS AS PRACTITIONERS FOR ASSIGNMENT OF CLAIMS- Section 1842(b)(18)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395u(b)(18)(C)), as amended by subsection (a)(7), is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:

                       `(viii) A mental health counselor (as defined in section 1861(kkk)(2)).'.

                 (c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to items and services furnished on or after January 1, 2011.

            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

            by lysias on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:06:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  same people directed WH to fire attorneys (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxado

      You know, the whole thing with Karl Rove ordering firings of US Attorneys who disagreed with them.

      Liberty Counsel has been in cahoots with the GOP for years.  It was started specifically as a way to fight the Constitutional protections on freedom of religious expression, and to put a Christian worldview in place as the "unofficial official" standard of all things judicial.

  •  Losers (11+ / 0-)

    When your main issue is "The War on Christmas", you are a BS group.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:46:26 AM PDT

    •  Besides Wars on Xmas - That's the Grinch's Gig (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, FishBiscuit, allep10

      This grinch ...

       title=

    •  If only! (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, this group acts like a very powerful anti-ACLU. They have very high-powered lawyers at their disposal to challenge every court case that comes up anywhere in the country that they think may help in their efforts to turn our democracy into a theocracy and tear-down the the Separation of Church and State wall in the Constitution.

      Even though their agenda is "BS" their effectiveness is unquestioned, and it would be a huge mistake to dismiss them.

      Never has so much been taken from so many by so few for so long...

      by JWSwift on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:51:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great catch! Thanks! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, Larsstephens, blackjackal

    Stonewall was a RIOT!

    by ExStr8 on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:48:01 AM PDT

  •  Here We Go Again...!!! (5+ / 0-)

    Organized Religion (c) takes it upon itself, yet again, to fight and destroy anything that actually helps EVERYBODY, not just members of their given religion.

    Once again, organized religion is the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION.

    Once again, organized religion shows itself as the corrosive, completely destructive force against Good that it has always tended to be.

    WHEN are people going to wake up...?!

    Until we are all equal, no one is equal. Pass ENDA NOW!! MARRIAGE EQUALITY NOW!!

    by CajunBoyLgb on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:48:34 AM PDT

  •  Well they do have a point.... (3+ / 0-)

    If an elderly man, on medicare, suffering from heart failure with advanced cancer asks for a heart transplant, or extensive advanced cancer treatment, he will be refused.

    This will kill him.

    He may have lasted another week, or even a month, but his choice is refuted by Obama's death panel that will refuse this treatment.

    Why should we deny that this is one thing that will happen.  Of course the choice is to do nothing, to continue the current system where those with curable diseases will go untreated and thus suffer and die.

    •  An elderly man (7+ / 0-)

      will not be healthy enough to survive a transplant.  The same thing happened with my grandmother, who had emphysema (though she never smoked).  People get lung transplants for emphysema now.  That was never an option for her, since her health was so poor she couldn't have endured the recovery.  Be realistic.

      •  The principle holds..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Protzman

        right now medicare provides almost unlimited care, even when the extension of life may be minimal, and accompanied with great debility.

        It is unaffordable even for the current population, and will be more so if this is the philosophy of a larger universal group.

        There will be no savings without choices, and those will limit care.  This is from the Presidents main medical adviser, Dr. Emanual, Rahm's brother.

        Realism is what I'm advocating, and which may have prevented this firestorm we are now seeing.

    •  I agree this is something we need to discuss. (6+ / 0-)

      I saw myself how insane the health care system is when my father who was suffering from advanced kidney cancer coded on an O.R. table after his intestines gave out and was shocked back to "life" since the hospitals can't have people dying on operating room tables (makes their surgeons look bad). He spent the last seven weeks of his "life," if you could call it that, on a respirator in an ICU unit for no discernable reason other than the fact that 1) he lacked an advance care directive, 2) my mother was unwilling to pull the plug and 3) the doctors were all too willing to keep billing Medicare. The final bill for that hospital stay, which of course ended in his death? $250,000.

    •  Of course it will happen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, smallgal

      As it happens now, when insurance companies refuse treatment.

      tweetivism.comA cool tool to tweet your Congressmembers with Health Care Reform messages.

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:00:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not true!!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

      Ultimately, it's the DOCTOR who will decide.  A physician is perfectly within his rights to perform (pro bono) a heart transplant, as long as he/she's qualified to do so.

      The real issue here is that it costs a lot of money, and few doctors will want to incur the cost without getting compensated.

      This is ultimately a matter of physicians needing to step up and take responsibility.  They shouldn't have to worry about "not making a living" if they provide a high standard of care.  That's one of the things that a gov't plan should do - create a safety net for providers so that they can put patients first.

  •  They should know better (0+ / 0-)

    But all of this builds on some very common foundational misinformation.
    To many of these people, "universal health care" means government run. It means a UK style National Health system, comparable to the VA.  They don't differentiate between "universal care" which is "everybody gets care"; and how that care is paid for (i.e. single payer, like Medicare; or "governemnt run", or even all done by for-profit insurance companies)

    Given that basic assumption, everything else falls in line. It won't be your doctor discussing end of life care - it will be some government employee assigned to you by the government plan. You won't be discussing the problems in your marriage with a counselor you picked out - maybe even one who is part of a faith based counseling center. Your family will be guided by some "government employee". Etc.

    tweetivism.comA cool tool to tweet your Congressmembers with Health Care Reform messages.

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:58:08 AM PDT

  •  Nice Diary--It would be so nice if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Protzman

    MSM picked it up.  Beyond Keith and Rachel, I mean.  The audience who needs to hear it the most watch FOX.

  •  Idiots (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Catte Nappe

    Reading legislation is hard, and making sense out of complex legislation is even harder.  But it's supposed to be what lawyers do.  That these idiots can so miss the boat on this says volumes about their ability to function as lawyers.

    "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

    by Old Left Good Left on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:58:36 AM PDT

    •  Some are idiots. But many (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Apost8

      are just average people with husbands, wives, children, day care bills, Cub Scout meetings, jobs, and doctor's appointments.  The Righties count on people being too busy and too resigned to their situations to fact-check the talking points being spewed by the likes of Palin and her ilk.  It doesn't help to continually paint all the opponents with the same brush.  They (not the racist loonies) need to understand that we get why they're upset.  We need to educate them.  We need to help them realize they've been deceived.

  •  The Day of Purity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, Sue Sturgis

    promoting youth abstinence. It that when teenagers agree to give up sex for a day?

  •  are they tax-exempt? (0+ / 0-)

    if they're driving a partisan political agenda they shouldn't be.

    you can call it Class Warfare..it's really self defence

    by Karl Rover on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:28:21 PM PDT

    •  Churches exist only to benefit their members. (0+ / 0-)

      Even those that engage in no overtly political activities should not be excused from paying their fair share to  "promote the general Welfare," etc.

      Invest in wind and solar power now. Either they will offer the greatest ROI within 20 years, or we will all be dead.

      by Reed Young on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:45:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  behind every big lie... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JWSwift

    ... you'll usually find a right-wing religious group.

    They lie to themselves, and they lie to everybody else.  They started beliving bullshit early and they don't know when to stop.

    You can't believe these kinds of absurd things without a long training period.  Get 'em to buy the talking snake story and the rest is easy...

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:29:52 PM PDT

  •  Bravo to House Rep. Waxman for his own de-bunk (0+ / 0-)

    I especially enjoy how terse each of his responses is.  It suggests the proper contempt for that bullshit.

    Invest in wind and solar power now. Either they will offer the greatest ROI within 20 years, or we will all be dead.

    by Reed Young on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:48:58 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site