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The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), September 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

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Coerced commitment won't help patients

Editor:

It was with a sense of horror that I read in the Gazette about two out-of-state consultants recommending that our state revamp its laws to make it easier to commit people to mental institutions in the name of "prevention."

Although the "prevention" argument has a progressive ring to it, particularly given our state's laudable efforts in reversing the epidemics of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, this logic does not follow when applying it to forced treatment. Contemporary research has conclusively shown that coercive measures are rarely effective.

Our civil commitment laws evolved over many years, based upon the need to protect people from harm to themselves or others, while balancing that imprecise formula with due process of the law and recognition of the right to refuse treatment.

West Virginia, we do not need to listen to out-of-state consultants who have their own agenda with little understanding of our state, its people and its health-care system.

Nidia Henderson

Charleston

Consider utility rate breaks for people

Editor:

If my memory serves me correct, I recall reading an article last year in the Gazette where the Public Service Commission stated that they "technically can't consider the customers' 'ability to pay' when acting on rate increases" and furthermore, "was under no legal obligation to consider the consumers' 'ability to pay' when setting rates."

If that is accurate, why is the PSC floating the idea of allowing Century Aluminum a special power rate that could be adjusted based on the price of aluminum?

The reason to this reader is obvious. Our current system for rate setting is broken and irrelevant in today's economy. The powers that be know utility rates are out of control and that the rules, regulations and laws governing them are at best archaic and do not address the real world of a consumer or a business's ability to pay.

Businesses, churches and citizens alike are buckling under the pressure of ever increasing utility rates. My 83-year-old widowed mother just received a $167 electric bill. Where is the concern for her ability to pay? Where is her special rate? Our leadership, the EPA and Wall Street may make the rules, but we have to pay the bills. The system we have now seems to border on legal extortion; surely, our citizens deserve better than this. …

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