09-27-2020  7:07 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Braces as Right-Wing Extremists Rally

Gov. Kate Brown warned violence would not be tolerated as right wing extremists converge on Portland "looking for a fight"

A Reminder: Delta Park is Vanport

As extreme right-wing, white supremacist groups prepare to converge on Portland tomorrow, here is a reminder of the historical significance of the place they plan to overrun and the stories of the people that lived there.

Wildfires Taint West Coast Vineyards With Taste of Smoke

No one knows the extent of the smoke damage to the crop, and growers are trying to assess the severity.

Black Lives Matters Protestors, Organizers Keep Up Momentum

Hazardous air quality stopped protests for a week, interrupted the more-than-100 nights of demonstrations.

NEWS BRIEFS

Blumenauer Statement on Planned White Supremacist Rally in Portland

“These are evil people looking for a fight and national media attention. Let’s not give them what they want." ...

Wish Launches $2 Million Fund To Support Black-owned Businesses

The Wish Local Empowerment Program is set to impact more than 4,000 small businesses across the US ...

Black Leaders Endorse Sarah Iannarone for Portland Mayor

Iannarone seeks to unseat an embattled Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has increasingly high unfavorable approval ratings. ...

Today in History: Senate Confirms Nomination of First Female Justice to Supreme Court

On Sept. 21, 1981, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the...

Free Masks and Gloves Now Available for Small Businesses

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. ...

Late night protest in Portland, Oregon, declared unlawful

PORTLAND (AP) — Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly late Saturday, forcing protesters from downtown Portland, Oregon, and making several arrests, just hours after demonstrations earlier in the day ended without many reports of violence.Hundreds of people were gathered downtown in...

Portland, Oregon, largely peaceful after right-wing rally

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police say a right-wing rally and counter-protests in Portland, Oregon, have largely dispersed without serious violence Saturday, though they are investigating an assault after one person who was documenting the event was pushed to the ground and kicked in the...

No. 2 Crimson Tide rolls on offense to 38-19 win over Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Nick Saban has never lost a season opener while coaching Alabama.Then again, he'd never had one like this.Yet despite an offseason largely scrapped by the coronavirus pandemic, and a delayed start to the season, Saban's second-ranked Crimson Tide looked just fine as they...

No. 2 Alabama visits Missouri to begin SEC-only campaign

No. 2 Alabama at Missouri, Saturday at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN).Line: Alabama by 27 1/2.Series record: Alabama leads 4-2.WHAT’S AT STAKE?The second-ranked Crimson Tide will go for their fifth straight win over Missouri when the teams open their SEC-only schedule at Faurot Field. The Tigers will be...

OPINION

When Black Women's Lives Matter All Lives Will Matter

Brazen disregard for the lives and safety of Black women goes back over 400 years in U.S. history with the definition of Black women’s bodies as property at the complete disposal of white slave-owners ...

Sarah Iannarone Demands Action from Mayor Regarding Planned Right-Wing Demonstrations; Opens Safe Space for Portlanders

BIPOC, Queer, and other marginalized Portlanders will bear the brunt of these attacks simply because of their identity or the color of their skin. ...

National Bar Association Statement on Breonna Taylor Decision

Not only was justice not served, the desultory and insufficient result we received today was also unacceptably slow in manifesting. ...

All Officers Responsible for Breonna Taylor’s Murder Must Be Held Accountable

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued a statement in response to the grand jury’s findings regarding the police who murdered Breonna Taylor ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Homespun BLM products include cookie kits, garden gnomes

A few weeks after nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd, Julie Muller looked for something positive she could contribute to the movement from her Houston home.The 67-year-old white woman, who has been selling homemade cookie-decorating kits online since March, decided...

Some Breonna Taylor protesters out past curfew, fires set

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A diverse crowd of hundreds marched in Louisville's streets chanting “Black Lives Matter" on Saturday night, the fourth night of protests after a grand jury declined to charge officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.People in the crowd also chanted...

After a year of drama, the Lakers reach NBA Finals anyway

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Here’s a list of just some of the things the Los Angeles Lakers have gone through in the last 12 months: playing through a politically charged situation in China during the preseason and more massive fallout after returning home, the death of Kobe Bryant...

ENTERTAINMENT

With spy series 'Tehran,' Israelis reach out to an enemy

NEW YORK (AP) — Things are not as they seem in the new Apple TV+ series “Tehran” — as it should be in a spy thriller. The series opens with a commercial flight from Jordan to India that's suddenly diverted to Iran. A few of the passengers on board have secrets. Those...

Demi Lovato, Max Ehrich call off engagement after 2 months

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Singer-actors Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich have called off their engagement after two months. Lovato and her former fiance have parted ways, according to a person close to Lovato who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. The split...

J-pop stars ARASHI release English surprise before hiatus

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Japanese pop sensation ARASHI has a big surprise for fans as they near their planned hiatus at year's end: a collaboration with Bruno Mars on their first all-English single.The band told The Associated Press the multi-Grammy Award-winning musician delved into their...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Israelis mark Yom Kippur under 'painful' virus lockdown

JERUSALEM (AP) — The solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which annually sees Israeli life grind to a halt,...

UN: Yemen's warring sides to swap more than 1,000 prisoners

CAIRO (AP) — The United Nations said Yemen’s warring sides agreed Sunday to exchange more than 1,000...

Late night protest in Portland, Oregon, declared unlawful

PORTLAND (AP) — Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly late Saturday, forcing protesters from...

France vows to protect its Jewish community after stabbing

PARIS (AP) — France’s interior minister promised Sunday to protect France’s Jewish community...

Romania's municipal election seen as test for December vote

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Voters in Romania were casting ballots Sunday in municipal elections, which are...

Attenborough gives shark tooth to 7-year-old Prince George

LONDON (AP) — Veteran broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough has given Britain’s Prince...

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Health Care ProtestSAN DIEGO, Calif. – Like most severely mentally ill patients, 23-year-old Daniel Padilla doesn't see himself as that.

The insurance companies that cover him – Medi-Cal (California's name for Medicaid, the federal-state-funded insurance for low-income and disabled people) and United Health Insurance -- don't see the schizophrenia he was diagnosed with at age 19, as deserving the same benefits as someone with a medical condition.

His father, Benito, must go after the insurers month after month to get them to pay Padilla's psychiatrist to keep his schizophrenia under control.

"The insurers approve three visits and then they put you through hell," asserted San Diego-based psychiatrist Dr. Rodrigo A. Muñoz, who has been treating Padilla all along.

"Insurers discriminate against people who are mentally ill," Muñoz said.

But that's all going to change soon. When the historic Affordable Care Act fully unrolls on Jan. 1, 2014, it will require insurers to offer mental health care benefits equal to physical health benefits. In other words, a disorder in the brain will be treated no differently than one in the kidney, Muñoz said.

Not just people with mental disorders, but those with substance use disorders have encountered penny-pinching annual and lifetime caps on coverage, higher deductibles, or simply no coverage at all.

Federal Parity Law

The blatantly discriminatory practices by health insurance companies prompted Congress in 2008 to pass the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which mandated that psychiatric illness be covered just the same as other medical illnesses. It required insurers to offer the same annual and lifetime dollar limits for mental health care as for medical and surgical care.

But the law applies only to larger employers – those with 50 or more workers – that offered a health plan that covered mental health and substance abuse. Smaller employers, as well as people who buy their own insurance, are excluded from the benefits of the law.

"Smaller employers have resisted changing the law, saying they will go broke" if they had to include mental health coverage in their health care plans, Muñoz pointed out.

The ACA has extended the MHPAEA provisions to state insurance exchanges, known as Covered California in this state. This would require policies purchased by smaller employers and individuals through the exchange, as well as those purchased outside of it, to be MHPAEA-compliant.

Had the MHPAEA mandated universal psychiatric benefits when it was created, insurers like Padilla's would not have been able to discriminate between the treatment of psychiatric and non-psychiatric medical illnesses, he said.

Only a Fraction of the Mentally Ill Get Treatment

Dr. Clayton Chau, who practices psychiatry in Orange County, Calif., said that because of the discrimination factor, poor access to care and inadequate insurance coverage, only a fraction of those with mental illness get treatment.

A report by the Surgeon General indicates that one in four Americans has a diagnosable mental illness at any given time. National and international studies show that 1 percent of the general population has schizophrenia, an illness that is treatable, though not curable. Surveys, including those done by the National Institutes of Mental Health, show that only about 50 percent of Americans seek psychiatric treatment.

According to Randall Hagar, director of government relations with the California Psychiatric Association, a state mental health parity bill signed by Gov. Davis in 2000 required insurers to cover the diagnosis and treatment of a range of mental illnesses under "the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions." The intent of the law was to eliminate the disparity in co-pays and higher deductibles.

In the opinion of many advocates, Hagar observed, the law is "routinely violated by plans and insurers, and enforcement is generally weak."

That prompted Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell, to try five times to give more teeth to federal and state mental health parity laws. Beall's first four bills were vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, and his most recent bill (SB22) didn't even make it out of committee.

What the Health Care Law Will Do

Under the ACA, aka Obamacare, health insurers are forbidden from excluding people with pre-existing illness from medical coverage. By definition, Americans with a mental illness have a pre-existing disorder, and up until now, private health insurers have denied with impunity coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

California has added a mental health component to its expanded Medi-Cal program, under ACA, to ensure that its Medi-Cal population with mental disabilities receives more comprehensive mental health benefits, starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The current mental health component of Medi-Cal "is limited in terms of the number of providers and the number of services" it offers, Chau said.

Older people with mental illness will also benefit from the ACA because the law will close the notorious "donut hole," allowing the Medicare population to not have a break in medication.

Padilla, who's currently working for his GED, has been able to stay on his father's insurance because of his age. A provision in the ACA allows children under 26 to remain on a parent's insurance plan.

Muñoz is relieved that the ACA will help patients like Padilla access the care they so badly need. The removal of lifetime caps by insurance companies will enable mentally ill patients to access care before turning to suicidal thoughts, becoming violent or ending up homeless, he said.

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