Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why are Utah's GOP legislators singling out autism?

Even after reading lots of press on Sen. Howard Stephenson's bill mandating coverage in private insurance policies for autism treatment, questions still arise:

  • Why just autism? Yes, early treatment is (or may be) beneficial and save cost later, but the same is true of many medical conditions.

  • Is it not incongruous for the president of the Utah Taxpayers Assocation to sponsor this bill? Isn't this basically a disguised tax, imposed on a limited segment of Utah businesses and employees?

  • If autism treatment is sufficiently beneficial to Utahns generally to overcome the usual GOP presumption against mandates, why not make it available to all Utahns through a statewide program, rather than only those with private insurance?

  • Are Utah legislators supporting this bill because, unlike other, less "popular" conditions, they happen to know more people affected by this condition than other conditions? (And, by the way, why is that?)

  • Should legislators apply the same analysis -- benefits of treatment + later cost savings -- to mandated coverage of other conditions? (For example: treatment of morbid obesity or coverage of prosthetics, which went nowhere.)

  • I'm not necessarily opposed to the bill; I often support mandated coverages. And I have no idea how VOU2 feels about the subject. I just can't figure out why Utah's Republican senators are singing the mandate tune on this one -- and only this one.


    twclay said...

    My name is Tom Clay. I was the first person to speak against this bill. (For those of you that have seen video, I'm the fat guy in a yellow shirt with suspenders).

    Your points are excellent, especially since they were also mine :) Well, at least to the logic of how stuff gets paid. I didn't want to get into any sort of political identification war, or else I would have introduced myself as a Republican County Delegate (Davis County), a state delegate, and a member of the state Republican Central Committee (Republican).

    My youngest son is autistic. Seing some of the kids today that had the therapy makes me incredibly angry. Many "what ifs" have been going through my mind. My son would be normal now.

    I can't change the past (yet.) So, I try to help make a better future. Many people are for this bill, for obvious reasons. What they don't realise is that there will be people who will lose all coverage because of increased costs. How many people could make the decision of, "Ok, we'll take care of your children, but you must choose other families that must lose their health insurance."

    I don't disagree with the premise of the bill: autism treatments work, and that our society has a responsibiliy and obligation to help our kids. The implementation is what I have problems with.

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