HB.2764 Approved 92-30 in House, Moves to Senate
March 21, 2012
TOPEKA, KS (March 21, 2012) — The Kansas House of Representatives approved HB.2764, the autism insurance reform expansion bill, rejecting several harmful amendments before the 92-30 vote. The bill moves next to the Senate. To learn more about how HB.2764 compares to existing law, below.
‘Autism coverage clears House,’ read the Topeka Capital-Journal coverage below.
Posted March 23, 2012 02:20 pm
Autism coverage clears House
Health care coverage long sought by the parents of autistic children could become mandatory in Kansas if a bill that passed the House 92-30 this week is signed into law.
The bill, authored by Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, requires that private health insurers provide coverage for behavioral therapy and other treatments for children up to age 19 who are clinically diagnosed with conditions along the autism spectrum.
When Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, brought it to the House floor, it touched off more than four hours of debate, with opponents saying the mandate was burdensome to business and unfair to children on public health care.
But Rubin successfully argued that study after study has shown autistic children who receive early treatment are more likely to be mainstreamed in school and employed after school, which saves money in the long term.
“This bill is not only the right thing to do for kids and their families that have clinically diagnosed autism,” Rubin said on the House floor. “It’s also fiscally responsible.”
But the bill may ultimately be held up by questions about how to pay for state obligations that were added later. Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, and others said that if the treatments are good for privately-insured children, they would be just as good for those on Medicaid — an argument that proved difficult to refute.
By the time the bill passed, Rep. Charlotte O’Hara, R-Overland Park, had successfully attached an amendment to provide the same coverage for children on public health care, which Rubin estimated will cost the state $25 million.
“I’d like to figure out where else in the budget we’re going to take the money from,” Rubin said in a phone interview Thursday. “I agree with that. I agree with spending the money for it, except I would have liked it worked in a more orderly way.”
Another amendment to the bill, attached by Rep. Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, would cap the cost of the new autism coverage to insurance policyholders at $0.31 per policyholder, per month.
Rubin said the underlying bill requires up to $36,000 of coverage per year for autistic children from birth to age 6 and $27,000 up to age 19. Per Denning’s amendment, that benefit would be reduced if enough people access the benefits to push the costs above the $0.31 threshold.
Rubin said a pilot program instituted in 2010 that provided the autism coverage to state employees averaged about $0.14 cents per policyholder, per month, but he would expect that to increase as more parents become aware of the coverage and access it. The $0.31 limit is based on the costs of similar coverage in Missouri.
That amendment failed to mollify some conservative leery of mandates.
Despite what he called “immense pressure” from autism advocates via social media, Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, voted against the bill, calling it bad policy.
“We’re all adults,” Schwab said on the House floor. “Forget about the pressure and make a good decision.”
O’Hara said the insurance industry had not had enough opportunity to weigh in on the bill and recommended sending it back to committee. But Siegfreid, the House Majority Leader, strongly disagreed.
“They chose not to testify,” Siegfreid said of insurers. “That was their choice.”
The House Democrats came out in strong support of the bill, with House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, saying raising an autistic child provides “some of the most unbelievable challenges any parent can have.”
Rep. Judith Loganbill, D-Wichita, said some insurance providers cover penile implants for erectile dysfunction and they should be “called to task” for not covering autism in children.
“What we’re asking them to do is, pardon my French, suck it up,” Loganbill said.
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
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.