[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Alaska lawmakers should be applauded for autism health insurance reform’ Alaska Dispatch
ANCHORAGE (June 18, 2012) — The online Alaska Dispatch published a commentary from Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs, regarding the enactment of the Alaska autism insurance reform legislation. Read the commentary below.
Alaska lawmakers should be applauded for autism health insurance reform
June 15, 2012
By Lorri Unumb
OPINION: The Alaska Legislature has wisely followed the lead of 30 other states by ending the insurance industry’s discrimination against families raising children with autism. Under the autism insurance reform law that takes effect June 27, families paying thousands of dollars a year in premiums can no longer be denied coverage for evidence-based treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis.
This “controversial” legislation passed on a final vote of 36-3 in the Alaska House and 18-0 in the Alaska Senate. What controversy did arise originated from the widely reported attempts by a single committee chairman [Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla], who tried and failed to thwart the will of the bipartisan majority by attempting to block a vote on the bill.
To those who object that insurance plans for public employees are exempted, please note that the nation’s 8 million federal employees, retirees and their dependents will now be offered coverage starting in 2013.
A growing majority of states representing nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population have enacted autism insurance reform because lawmakers have seen how the actual cost impact ends up being a fraction of what opponents had predicted. Once again we see the undocumented claim of a 3 percent impact trotted out in Alaska, just as it had been in a multitude of other states.
In five states where claims data is publicly available, the impact of autism insurance laws has averaged 31 cents per member, per month, less than the cost of a postage stamp. The Missouri Department of Insurance examined its law after one year and found the impact on premiums was 0.1 percent – or 1/30th of the 3 percent impact predicted by the insurance lobby.
Fiscal notes prepared for state legislatures also were a bit off in their calculations, overestimating the impact anywhere from 293 percent in Louisiana to 1,261 percent in Arizona. A $10 million impact on state Medicaid costs forecast in Vermont ended up being $0.5 million.
No, all families are not covered under the Alaska law. Autism Speaks is working to ensure all families receive coverage, whether they have self-funded plans regulated by the federal government, they serve in the military or they are subject to some other exclusion.
The Alaska Legislature is to be applauded for taking the critical first step in helping us reach that goal in your state.
Lorri Unumb is vice president of state government affairs for Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Unumb testified several times before the Alaska Legislature this spring on the autism legislation.
Alaska Dispatch encourages a diversity of opinion and community perspectives. The opinions expressed herein are those of the contributor and are not necessarily endorsed or condoned by Alaska Dispatch. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
More With Autism Votes
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.