[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Autism Speaks Announces Multi-State Insurance Legislation Campaign
Florida, California, Michigan and Pennsylvania are Key Battlegrounds in Effort to Change Insurance Laws and Require Coverage of Medically Necessary Services
PALM BEACH, FL (December 27, 2007) – Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization, will undertake a multi-state initiative to pass insurance coverage provisions for autism services, it was announced today by Co-Founders Bob and Suzanne Wright. Expanding on Autism Speaks’ ongoing advocacy work in Pennsylvania, the 2008 initiative will extend to Florida, California and Michigan, battleground states in the effort to compel commercial insurers to cover evidence-based, medically necessary therapies and services for individuals with autism.
Autism Speaks leadership will begin conversations with Governor Charlie Crist and key members of the Florida legislature in a bi-partisan effort to address the insurance coverage issue in Florida. According to the most recent Department of Education statistics, Florida ranks sixth in the United States in the number of children receiving services for autism.
Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year. In the process, many risk their homes and the educations of their unaffected children – essentially mortgaging their entire futures. Autism Speaks, together with other autism advocacy groups, is working to change state insurance laws to require private health insurance policies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals under the age of 21.
The insurance legislation supported by Autism Speaks specifically targets coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and other structured behavioral therapies, which are the most effective forms of treatment and have the best outcomes, both in human costs and in long-term economic benefits. Nationwide, few private insurance companies or other employee benefit plans cover Applied Behavior Analysis and other behavioral therapies. In fact, most insurance companies designate autism as a diagnostic exclusion, meaning that no autism-specific services are covered, even those that would be used to treat other conditions.
“It’s time for insurance companies to step up and assume some of the financial burden now shouldered by families and school districts,” said Bob Wright. “The autism community is mobilized and determined to go state-by-state state and knock on every legislator’s door until these unreasonable insurance laws are changed. It’s time to remove these barriers to care.”
“Families across the country are going broke as they struggle to provide their children with the services they need and deserve,” added Suzanne Wright. “A family should not have to choose between getting necessary therapies for their child and making their mortgage payments.”
Autism Speaks has outlined eight arguments in support of private insurance coverage of autism-related services – based on importance, efficacy, and costs associated with autism insurance coverage — in the document Arguments in Support of Private Insurance Coverage of Autism-Related Services. It can be found here:
Three states – South Carolina, Texas and Indiana – have already passed autism insurance legislation that specifically requires private insurance companies to provide coverage of ABA and other structured behavioral treatments.
More With Autism Insurance Reform
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.