[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
2014 Utah Autism Insurance Reform Bill Introduced
February 06, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY (February 6, 2014) — Autism Speaks today formally endorsed SB.57, the latest piece of legislation to require certain health plans in Utah, the state with the highest prevalence of autism in the nation, to cover medically necessary treatments.
Utah is one of just 16 remaining states yet to enact autism insurance reform, having instead created a “lottery” under its Medicaid program in which several hundred of the state’s estimated 18,000 children with autism are randomly chosen for treatment. The 2014 bill is again sponsored by Dr. Brian Shiozawa, a Salt Lake Republican Senator and past president of the Utah Medical Association.
SB.57 would require state-regulated health plans to cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) up to $36,000 a year for children through age 8, then up to $18,000 a year though age 17. The new bill mirrors a coverage plan Salt Lake Mayor Ben McAdams proposed for county employees in his 2014 budget proposal.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be exempt from providing the coverage if they could demonstrate it raised the cost of their health plans by 2.5 percent or more. A new study in Missouri showed the impact of its autism insurance reform law during 2013 on total health care costs was 0.2 percent.
”We commend Senator Shiozawa for his continued leadership for the growing numbers of Utah families raising kids with autism,” said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. ”Autism Speaks is proud to join with the Utah Autism Coalition and the entire Utah autism community in calling on the legislature to get the job done this year.”
According to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control study, 1 in every 47 Utah children has autism, the highest rate in the nation and significantly higher than the 1 in 88 national average. The University of Utah calculated that between 2002-2008, autism prevalence increased twice as fast in Utah than nationally (157 percent versus 78 percent.)
Utah now runs a program funded through its Medicaid program and voluntary contributions from the private sector that serves several hundred children selected at random. The Utah Autism Coalition has estimated over 18,000 Utah children have autism.
The absence of health coverage has created severe financial hardship for many Utah families, recounted in one case recently by a Murray family forced to sell their home after paying out-of-pocket for one year of ABA therapy. The Salt Lake Tribune has tracked various hardships experienced by Utah parents without insurance coverage for their children with autism, including a report that cited 20 cases of parents surrendering their children to the state because they could not afford to provide them the autism treatments they needed.
Shiozawa’s bill would require state-regulated health plans to cover the treatment of autism, including speech, occupational and physical therapy, as well as pharmaceutical benefits.
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.