For the Kooky File

The level of paranoia on the far right is off the scale. Today Cathie Adams, head of Texas Eagle Forum, sent out an e-mail blast attacking legislation that would create a workgroup to develop recommendations for integrating health and behavioral health services in Texas.

[Texas Eagle Forum] stopped a similar bill the last two sessions because it would have required physicians to screen / analyze your mental health each doctor visit. It is now more dangerous than ever with the federal government taking up nationalized / rationed health care. Texans must not surrender our mental and physical health to a socialist State that President Obama is striving toward.

Huh? House Bill 2196 is authored by Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Keller, in the House and sponsored by Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville. These two conservative Republicans are somehow trying to undermine freedom by wanting to study how mental health services might be useful in treating patients who present with physical ailments? (Never mind, of course, Ms. Adams’ attacks on President Obama as a closet socialist. That’s standard fare these days on the far right.)

The official analysis for HB 2196 states:

Research indicates that people with serious mental illness are more likely than those without mental illness to have poor physical health and face premature death due to untreated and poorly managed medical conditions, such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, and infectious diseases.

In addition to the unacceptable human cost associated with untreated medical conditions and premature death, people with mental illness and other chronic conditions are the greatest users of health services and emergency room care. Evidence demonstrates that integrated health care improves access to and service outcomes for persons with or at-risk for mental illness. Establishing a workgroup in Texas focused on improving integrated health care is of primary importance.

Texas Freedom Network has no position on this bill — it’s not one of the issues we monitor. But we wonder how traditional conservatives take folks like Ms. Adams seriously anymore. Really.

3 thoughts on “For the Kooky File

  1. I think TFN missed the point here—maybe—not trying to chide you guys too much or anything.

    To really understand this far right point of concern, you have to understand their sociocultural mindset and the extreme paranoia that comes as part of that package. Specifically, they are concerned that this is the beginning of a “widespread liberal plot” to use the vast medical community (including their doctor) to indivdually (like shooting skeet I suppose) declare members of the far right as mentally ill and have them committed (perhaps permanently) to an institutional mental health setting, which will take them out of commission politically. Ann Coulter visits her doctor for a pap smear, her doctor makes a quick evaluation to establish her as mentally ill, the guys in the white clothing come to the back door, and Ann disappears from sight—forever—like with the Pinochet regime in Chile. They see “the liberals” as about to TAKE OVER the entire health care delivery system in the United States as their personal property under the Obama healthcare plans, thus putting them in a unique position to actually achieve such diagnoses and political kidnappings. I am convinced that this is precisely their concern and that they are actually very serious about it.

    However, and I think any sane American would have to agree, any far right adherent who is really concerned about something this ridiculous does indeed need access to some serious mental health services. Either that or they will need to spend a year or two in one of the many barbed-wire-enclosed “Conservative Re-Education Camps” that we are now beginning to construct in secret throughout the United States. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Anyone wanna bet on whether this tidbit will be reported on Fox News tonight?

  2. As someone who follows policy regarding psychiatric disabilities (and also supports the good work of TFN) I’ll say this bill is concerning. All legislation involving “behavioral health” (what’s that?) should give us pause, but most folks don’t know what happens to the legal status of individuals once captured by the public mental health system. Housing, food stamps, vocational training and similar services are tied to compliance with what’s euphemistically called “treatment” that frankly boils down to ingesting powerful and experimental psychoactive drug cocktails. Disinclination to comply with disabling “treatment” protocols is generally taken as a symptom of the “serious mental illness” denoted in the bill, which means a diagnosis is itself prejudicial and undermines self-determination. This happens.

    Even more so with the demographics targeted by this bill — the poor, under-educated, politically disengaged and unsophisticated who live with off-the-charts surveillance and monitoring as a prerequisite for welfare benefits; which are known as “leverage” in terms of this population, and only this population.

    You say it’s not one of your issues, TFN, but you didn’t say why not. I assume you consider “behavioral health” to be a medical matter that skirts the civil/social parameters that incorporate your mission. Think about the word behavior; and what it has to do with medicine.

    Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a glibertarian, wingnut, scientologist or anti-psychiatry. People should be able to avail themselves of psychiatric services without having to forfeit their constitutional rights.

  3. I strongly disagree with the presumption that someone who objects to mass psychiatric screening is “paranoid”. Psychiatry has been used for repression and control. The Soviet government incarcerated its dissidents in mental institutions in order to discredit them. The Chinese Communist government often did similar things to the Falun Gong.

    Psychiatric “diagnosis” is often subjective. There has been much criticism from progressives that it can be culturally biased.Furthermore, psychiatry has pathologized more and more behavior, such as pathologizing sadness as “clinical depression” or behaviors consistent with childhood immaturity as “ADHD”.

    The Bush Administration has promoted a program called the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health(www.mentalhealthcommission dot gov) that would fund psychological screening in the states, This screening could be misused to pathologize and control people. While this program is sadly continued by Obama, it was started under Bush.

    Please don’t stereotype all opponents of psychiatry as right-wing religious fanatics. There are many people in the anti-psychiatry movement who are not Scientologists. Nor are they right-wing Christian fundamentalists. Bruce Levine, a dissident psychologist and a progressive, has objected to psychiatry(www.brucelevine.net).

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