[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Federal Judge Issues Key Ruling on Mental Health Parity
June 12, 2012
NEW YORK, NY (June 12, 2012) Autism Speaks hailed a federal court ruling that a Washington health plans refusal to cover Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), speech, occupational, physical and other neurodevelopmental therapies after age six violated the states Mental Health Parity Act. The therapies are commonly used to treat the developmentally disabled, including persons with autism.
Ruling in Seattle on Z.D. v. Group Health Cooperative, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik found that treatments for developmental disabilities are covered under Washington states mental Health Parity Act and issued an immediate injunction. The case was brought as a class action on behalf of Z.D., a 12-year-old with developmental disabilities who had received speech therapy from Group Health until she was cut off at age seven.
“This is wonderful news for children with autism and other disabilities in Washington state who need critical therapies, such as ABA, to improve their quality of life and achieve greater independence,” said Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. ”The plaintiffs attorneys, Eleanor Hamburger and Rick Spoonemore of Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore, deserve great credit for prevailing in this case which could have wider implications nationally.”
In his ruling, Lasnik said, “the Court ORDERS Defendants to cease their application of any treatment limitations [for mental health services] that are not generally imposed on coverage of medical and surgical services. The Court will not look kindly on failures to immediately implement its directive.”
The class action against Group Health was one of six brought against Washington insurers over their exclusion of neurodevelopmental and behavioral therapies. Lawsuits are pending against Premera Blue Cross, Regence Blue Shield, and the public employees coverage, the Uniform Medical Plan.
The use of exclusionary clauses to eliminate coverage for most or all specialty services to treat developmental disabilities is a common practice among Washington insurers, according to Hamburger and Spoonemore.
“Every insurer in Washington state does what Judge Lasnik found was illegal,” said Hamburger. “Judge Lasnik’s decision is a wake-up call to the other insurers to stop using blanket exclusions and special treatment limitations for mental health services now.”
Lasnik’s decision against Group Health follows on a similar ruling issued in March by King County Superior Court Judge Michael Trickey against Premera Blue Cross. In June 2011, Judge Susan Craighead found that the Uniform Medical Plan used an illegal blanket exclusion of ABA coverage for children with autism.
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.