Mental health workers pay, church-state separation, LIPA rates, and lottery jackpots

Mental health pay must be increased

The difficulty people have in accessing mental health and addiction care goes beyond stigma. It is a matter of discrimination and a question of civil rights, which new funding alone will not solve [“An anguishing crisis,” Editorial, July 31].

In a yearlong study released in 2018 by North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, 650 Long Islanders were surveyed about their experiences attempting to obtain help for mental health and substance use problems. Almost half said that it was more difficult finding help for mental health than finding help for physical health issues. Nearly 40% said that their insurance company did not have an adequate number of providers, and two-thirds said that their insurance company was not helpful in finding a suitable provider.

The 2008 federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act states that health insurers who cover mental health and addiction care must have adequate numbers of providers in their networks. They don’t. Why? Because they pay substandard rates of reimbursement to providers that cannot afford to join or stay enrolled in the networks.

When it comes to preventing suicide and overdoses: Access delayed is access denied.

 — Andrew Malekoff, Long Beach

The writer is the former chief executive of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights.

With meter savings, LIPA to cut rates?

I see the Long Island Power Authority will be charging ratepayers for installing smart meters [“LIPA: Monthly fees ahead for smart meter opt-out,” News, Aug. 1]. The chart points out a reduction of 169 in its workforce.

The article does not provide data showing the meters’ total cost savings, which should include, for example, the cost reductions for vehicles and their maintenance, gas, insurance, etc.

Are we going to have a rate reduction reflecting such cost savings?

 — Walter Markowitz, South Setauket

Authority figures add pressure when praying

A reader states that separation of church and state does not appear in the Declaration of Independence [“1st Amendment’s religious protection,” Letters, Aug. 1]. No, it doesn’t, but it wouldn’t matter if it did.

The Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land. The Constitution is. The First Amendment has been interpreted to mean there should be a separation between church and state.

When an authority figure such as a coach publicly displays his expression of faith, some players may feel compelled to join or face consequences. In the 1950s during prayer at school assemblies, I was uncomfortable when the Christian majority of students all bowed their heads and I didn’t.

 — Bernice Slutzman, Seaford 

The Supreme Court decision that the reader supports concerned a tax-paid coach praying on a public football field after a high school game. This is a governmental allowance of one religious set of beliefs which will, I hope, be reversed in saner times. I wonder how comfortable the reader would be had the coach been a Muslim or other non-Christian praying after a public school function.

I don’t care if the reader prays publicly. However, one person who would is Jesus. In his own words, Jesus urged people to “go into your room, close your door.” He reviled those who prayed publicly as seeking the approval of others.

 — Cynthia Lovecchio, Remsenburg

Limit huge jackpots so more can win

We need to put an end to the lunacy of billion-dollar lottery winners [“Ticket sold in Ill. wins $1.337B Mega jackpot,” News, July 31]. I understand the big eye-popping jackpot is needed to lure the hopefuls, but a resulting winner going home with that kind of money, even after taxes, is ridiculous.

This is a billion dollars — if you won a million dollars, not counting accruing interest, and spent $1,000 a day, you would run out of money in about three years. If you won a billion dollars, and spent the same $1,000 every day, it would take about 2,740 years to go broke.

I don’t know anyone who needs hundreds of millions of dollars. That kind of windfall would most likely be emotionally disruptive to the families of many average citizens.

Continue with the Mega Millions potentially astronomical jackpot as a necessary attraction, but let the winning ticket takes in $10 million dollars while triggering an extra tier of million-dollar winners.

The Mega Millions administrators should figure out how to increase the chances of having many more substantial winners. The latest payoff could have resulted in hundreds of other people becoming sensibly happy millionaires. A million bucks can still go a long way.

 — Frank Cavallaro, East Meadow

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#Mental #health #workers #pay #churchstate #separation #LIPA #rates #lottery #jackpots

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