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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plea for Michigan Mandate

The Detroit Free Press carries a plea from David Meador, cofounder of the Autism Alliance of Michigan, who argues on the basis of economics and equal rights:

Most Michigan families simply can’t afford to treat their child’s autism without insurance coverage. Treatment can cost as much as $50,000 per year. That means families are forced to watch their children suffer, with little or no ability to help them. No matter how you look at it, that’s torture for parents – and for their children.

Compounding the problem in Michigan is that relatively few autism therapists practice here because there is no insurance coverage to pay them. Michigan could grow the profession here, expanding access for thousands of patients, if autism were covered. It would also allow us to keep more of our college graduates in Michigan.

There is no cure for autism, but studies show that behavioral therapy can dramatically improve symptoms. With proper treatment, children can vastly increase language and communication skills and improve their quality of life. They can succeed at school, make friends and become participating members of their communities.

Michigan insurers provide coverage for a host of other less prevalent diseases, including cancer, epilepsy and diabetes. Yet they continue to deny coverage to the tens of thousands of individuals affected by autism. This disparity must end.

Michigan citizens with autism deserve the same access to proven medical treatments as those individuals affected by other conditions.