[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Blue Cross Blue Shield agrees to cover mental health costs
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
June 19, 2001
The Minnesota attorney general’s office has settled its lawsuit with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Mike Hatch filed suit last October accusing the insurance carrier of illegally and systematically denying mental health coverage and shifting the cost to taxpayers.
UNDER THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT, Blue Cross wilL pay the state $8.2 million, pay for its members’ court-ordered treatment, agree to semi-annual audits by an attorney general appointee and improve coverage for eating disorder, autism and mental health problems. If the carrier initially denies coverage for those illnesses, Blue Cross has also agreed to abide by the decisions of an independent review panel.
Blue Cross agreed to the terms without admitting any wrongdoing. But Vice President Richard Neuner said the insurer will improve its coverage and customer service. “For nearly 70 years, we’ve been one of Minnesota’s trusted names in health care. Are we perfect? Clearly not. Frankly, we have learned through these discussions with the Attorney General and from the issues raised, we can, and will do better,” Neuner told a news conference.
The cornerstone of the settlement is the creation of a “fast-track appeals committee.” Chief Deputy Attorney General Alan Gilbert said the three-person panel, comprised of representatives from the attorney general’s office, Blue Cross and the Hennepin County chief judge’s office, will act as a kind of appeals court when Blue Cross denies mental health coverage.
“Immediately that denial will go to the review committee which then will have one business day to determine whether to reverse or affirm that denial decision by Blue Cross. If the committee decides to reverse the decision, that granting of coverage is binding on Blue Cross,” according to Gilbert.
The settlement was bittersweet for Kitty Westin, who was one of the original parents to join in the attorney general’s lawsuit and go public with her case. Westin’s daughter, Anna, died last year after battling anorexia. Kitty Westin says the changes Blue Cross has now agreed to make – improving its coverage for eating disorders – would’ve made a major difference in her daughter’s treatment.
“One was just getting authorization for inpatient care. Another part was because insurance companies weren’t recognizing eating disorders as serious medical illnesses that required specialized care; there’s not a system set up that allows that to happen as well as it should be,” Westin says.
Blue Cross and the attorney general say they’ll review and try to resolve each of the individual claims – like Kitty Westin’s – that were brought as part of the lawsuit. Blue Cross is one of Minnesota’s three largest health insurers. The other two are HealthPartners and Medica.
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.