[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
VTDIGGER.ORG: ‘$10 million autism budget buster reduced to $500,000’
March 02, 2012
MONTPELIER (March 2, 2012) — The online news site, VTDIGGER.org, reported that the state’s 2010 autism insurance reform law had a $500,000 impact on Vermont’s Medicaid program, a fraction of the $10 million that had been predicted. Read more below.
ORIGINAL $10 MILLION AUTISM COVERAGE ESTIMATE WAY OFF THE MARK
MAR. 2, 2012, 7:56 PM BY ALAN PANEBAKER
Sen. Anthony Pollina. VTD/Josh Larkin
A study predicting expanding Medicaid coverage for autism therapies for children up to age 6 would cost $10 million ended up being blown out of proportion.
By almost $10 million.
In 2011, a report to the Vermont Legislature cited the cost of expanding Medicaid coverage for children 18 months to 6 years old at $10 million.
A 2010 law, Act 127, required Medicaid and private insurance coverage of the diagnosis and treatment services for children with autism spectrum disorder up to age 6. That law asked the administration to study the financial impact of that decision.
The $10 million number was based on what it would cost for intensive services for the 183 children who qualify for Medicaid in Vermont. In his annual budget address, Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed postponing these payments to save money.
Advocates for expanded coverage sounded the alarm, and a second look decreased that number to almost nil. It turns out the $10 million number was based on an unrealistic estimate of the need for services children would need.
Christine Oliver, deputy secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said the administration worked with advocates from groups like Autism Speaks to bring that number down.
“In the last bill, the definitions were so broad and so ambiguous, that’s where the $10 million came from,” she said.
A bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare Friday would expand coverage under private insurance and Medicaid for autism services for people up to age 21 subject to a $50,000 cap for applied behavioral therapies.
“In working with Sen. [Anthony] Pollina on the bill, our goal was to try and get to a place where all children were treated the same regardless of whether they had medical insurance or Medicaid,” Oliver said.
The bill proposes that Autism Speaks, in coordination with the administration, will develop a report to address the cost issue. Rather than including the predicted costs for all types of services, the proposal will only require Medicaid to cover “medically necessary” services.
Oliver said there will not be likely a budgetary impact except possibly to the state employee health plan.
The bill, sponsored by Progressive Sen. Anthony Pollina, would also include coverage for other developmental delays like cerebral palsy that are diagnosed as medically necessary.
Medicaid already covers many services for children with autism under the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Program. Requiring private insurance to cover many of these services for people up to age 21 will expand the number of people who will receive therapy, Pollina said, and hopefully reduce the cost shift that occurs when parents drop private insurance and enroll their children in Medicaid.
Under EPSDT, Medicaid only takes the child’s income into account, so for parents of autistic children older than age 6, it often makes sense to drop private insurance.
Pollina said he hopes his bill will help reduce that cost shift to taxpayers.
“It puts private health insurance plans in line with what Medicaid already does,” Pollina said.
Claudia Pringles, a Montpelier parent whose child has autism said she was “really happy” with the Senate bill.
“I think it’s a great step forward,” she said.
The bill will still need to make its way through the finance and appropriations committees before it hits the House floor.
Correction: The headline on this story was corrected on March 5 at 9:53 a.m. The original headline said the state’s estimate for expanding Medicaid coverage for autism would cost $500,000. The Joint Fiscal Office is currently creating a new fiscal note on the subject, but the number is likely smaller than that, according to Judith Ursitti with Autism Speaks.
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.