Why Hollywood Needs a Mental Health Bill Like AB 154

Guest Blog: You would think that the entertainment industry would marshall its forces to support a California State Bill like AB 154


Entertainment is a schizophrenic industry that secretly encourages anorexia nervosa, causes panic disorders, and is controlled by obsessive-compulsive, bipolar executives with a bad moon rising. You would think that said 'industry' would then, in a moment of clarity, marshal its forces to support a California State Bill (AB 154) that would require health plans and health insurers to provide coverage for the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of mental illness.

AB 154 addresses the lapse in coverage that would, if enacted, support diagnosis of elder issues like dementia, schizophrenia and major depressive disorders that all too often affect the quality of a person's final years. AB 154 would mandate that mental disorders in our young people be covered by health plans and health insurance. Pervasive developmental disorders, bulimia, anorexia — all conditions that serve to undermine families and cause personal grief would be covered.  

The benefits continue:

AB 154 also sets out to define 'mental illness' to include substance abuse. God knows that this industry would benefit from this coverage, substantially reducing the nightmare of addiction while underwriting some care plans (the bill does exclude treatment of some specified diagnoses) to cover the epidemic of drug abuse.

The California Dept. of Mental Health is often the home for patients who are committed to a state hospital due to the heinous crimes that they commit. Society, at a loss to treat them and falling short on the support of preventative and diagnostic mental health services, label these criminals as demented and warehouse them. Our children and our parents, who do not have the support of their health plans, are also committed to this lowest common denominator of care. In this environment, the basis for their psychoses and deviant behavior are often brushed aside because of lack of resources, staff — or both. AB 154 at least gives us working people an edge to keep our loved ones out of state-mandated, lowest-common-denominator facilities and instead give them a fighting chance in care programs where their specific needs are addressed and treated.

A young girl suffering from bulimia and panic disorders should not be in the same wing as a thrice-convicted sex offender. An elderly person dazed by what seems like dementia should not be damned to drooling in their lap due to Big Pharma's push to anesthetize and ignore. Hospitals run by California have psychiatric programs run in large part by dedicated medical professionals. Atascadero, Coalinga, Napa, Patton are all operating at over-capacity. Like a pilot dead-heading from Los Angeles to London after a non-stop from Sao Paulo, our state-sponsored medical professionals and institutions are on the verge of collapse.  

We must help. We must get involved.

Here's what you need to do. AB 154, after being passed by the California State Assembly on Jan. 26 of this year, failed to be approved. After certain emendations were made, it was then kicked up to the California State Senate and failed passage on June 27. The good news is that it has been granted reconsideration. This is where you come in.

Please contact your State Senator and urge them to pass AB 154. You can find your state senator by clicking on this link and entering your address.

Join me on Facebook by clicking on this link. This issue has a clear and direct impact on elder care, and those of us who fought for motion picture and long-term care must get behind this issue as well.

If you would like to read the bill in its entirety, please click here.

Those who voted NAY on AB 154 (for purposes of contacting) are listed here.