[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Alabama Governor signs autism insurance reform bill
May 23, 2017
Autism Speaks joins the Autism Society of Alabama in applauding Governor Kay Ivey for signing into law House Bill 284, which requires certain health benefit plans to cover medically necessary treatment for autism, including applied behavior analysis (ABA). Governor Ivey signed HB 284 on Friday, May 19, 2017, making Alabama the 46th state to require meaningful coverage for the treatment of autism.
Sponsored by Representative Jim Patterson and Senator Tom Whatley, the bill faced strong opposition from powerful insurance and business lobbies in Alabama, but a well-organized grassroots effort on behalf of families impacted by autism prevailed. HB 284 passed the House 100-0 and then passed the Senate 33-1. “The grassroots advocacy and perseverance demonstrated by families affected by autism in Alabama has been truly inspirational and was key to passage of this bill,” said Mike Wasmer, Director of State Government Affairs for Autism Speaks. “HB 284 is a very good bill and is a huge step in the right direction for thousands of families impacted by autism in Alabama.”
Despite strong opposition to age caps from families and legislative champions such as Senator Cam Ward, the Senate voted 19-13 to impose an age cap on coverage of 18 years. The Senate also voted to exclude coverage for small group plans (i.e., small businesses that provide fully insured plans with fewer than 51 employees).
“The Autism Society of Alabama and Autism Speaks remain committed to working together until all Alabamians affected by autism have access to medically necessary treatment,” said Bama Hager, Policy Advisor for the Autism Society of Alabama. Many states have passed less than ideal autism insurance laws where advocates have returned in later sessions and succeeded in improving upon terms of coverage. “Autism does not go away at age 18,” said Hager. “Our families will continue to advocate for meaningful coverage across the lifespan.”
The final version of HB 284 applies to fully insured large group plans and state employees (i.e., plans administered by PEEHIB and SEIB) and requires coverage for ABA with tiered annual dollar caps based on the age of the insured: $40,000/year (age 0-9 years); $30,000/year (age 10-13 years); and $20,000/year (age 14-18 years). Coverage for treatments such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and psychological and psychiatric care is unlimited. HB 284 also reiterates Alabama’s obligation under Federal law to provide medically necessary treatment for autism under the EPSDT benefit of Medicaid.
Autism Speaks estimates that the terms of coverage in HB 284 will apply to nearly 1 million Alabamians.
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.