Updated: Jan. 20, 2019, 12:29 a.m. | Published: Oct. 31, 2015, 1:31 p.m.
LANSING, MI — A fund designed to incentivize companies to cover autism treatments is running dry, but some of its original supporters are urging the legislature to take another look.
“A few years down the road, it’s time to revisit it,” said Randy Richardville on WKAR’s Off The Record this week.
Back in 2012 legislators were struggling with how to mandate autism insurance coverage without raising premiums. They also faced what they couldn’t control: employer-run health insurance by big companies like GM weren’t under the state’s purview.
Richardville, the former Senate Republican majority leader, stepped in with a bipartisan solution, proposing a fund that would reimburse insurers for paid claims related to autism treatment. It would work as an incentive for employers, while other legislation mandated traditional insurance companies cover autism treatment.
But for the first year or two, the fund wasn’t widely used. The legislature appropriated $15 million and in the first few months of operation only $3,000 was disbursed.
Richardville traced the problem to Michigan not having a big enough network of autism treatment providers.
“For so many years we trained some of our best people in colleges with autism programs but since we didn’t have any coverage in Michigan they went out of state, moved other places. So rebuilding that network has been difficult, too,” Richardville said.
Some of the money was diverted to universities with programs that trained workers in autism treatment. The appropriations dwindled.
At the same time, insurers’ use of the fund picked up.
The Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ Office of Financial and Administrative Services Director Penny Wright said Tuesday that soon there won’t be any money to reimburse companies with.
“By the end of November we are anticipating the fund to be depleted completely,” Wright said.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who has a daughter with autism, signed the legislation during a period where Gov. Rick Snyder was out of the state. He pointed out that the mandate for traditional insurers to cover autism treatment remains intact, even without the fund.
“While it is very concerning that the Michigan autism coverage fund could soon run out of reimbursement funds, the requirement for insurance companies to cover autism services will not be impacted,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said.
He said the fund’s running out was a testament to how many more children are receiving autism treatment.
“Previous estimates showed this money lasting into the spring of next year, but the state recently received a much higher number of reimbursement claims than had been anticipated. Our next challenge will be to work with our legislative partners to decide what the appropriate next steps are,” Calley said.
Republican State Rep. Chris Afendoulis, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, has urged people to stay tuned as the committee considers this issue.
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.