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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Michigan Legislation in 2011

The [Fenton, Michigan] Tri-County Times reports:
Malissa Bossardet, of Fenton, will visit Michigan’s capital to talk with legislators about health insurance coverage to help children with autism. Currently, health insurance in Michigan doesn’t cover therapies for autism.

 “I am very passionate about this,” Bossardet said. “This has affected my child.”

 Rep. John Gleason (D-Flushing) said he co-sponsored some of the legislation to provide health insurance coverage for autism. He supports the measure “1,000 percent.” “If your child is hurt from the brain down, you can get them fixed,” Gleason said. “If your child has an ailment with their mind, you can’t get coverage.

 “It’s almost scandalous that we leave these children uninsured. It is a handicap for the parents.”

 Legislation for autism coverage has strong bipartisan support, he said. “I’m very confident it will be passed this year.”

 “We picked up the challenge and the cost to eradicate polio,” Gleason said. “There is no reason not to have the same level of compassion and effort for autism.”

 The cost for health insurance shouldn’t increase as a result, he said. Early intervention for children with autism will let them get on with their lives and prove much less expensive. They can go to work and become taxpayers instead of tax takers, like a young man Gleason met in Flint who handles his autism and is now a working, responsible citizen, Gleason said.

 It’s the moral obligation for those in office, and those who are not, to take care of sick kids, he believes. In the area he represents, people join together to hold fundraisers and help others whose homes have burnt down, or who have a child with cancer. It’s a social contract between everyone to make life easier, he said.

 “We’ve fought this fight long enough,” Gleason said. “These families have waited. Now it’s time to let them be part of the insurance pot.”

Michigan bills on health insurance coverage of autism

House Bill 4476 sponsored by Rep. Kathy Angerer
House Bill 4183 sponsored by Rep. Richard Ball

Requires private health insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Rett’s Syndrome). HB 4476 applies only to plans issued by BlueCross BlueShield. HB 4183 applies to other insurance company plans. These bills would require insurance companies to cover up to $50,000 for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.

The Midland [MI] Daily News has an editorial titled "Spend a Little to Save a Lot":

Michigan families with means pay $10,000 to $75,000 a year for treatment of autism, while children whose families do not have such financial resources are left out in the proverbial cold. Estimates of the additional costs to add autism coverage to insurance plans run 1-3 percent per year.

Experts say early intervention is critical when treating autism. The difference is between a person who learns to live and work in society (and pay taxes), or one who needs lifelong care provided by the taxpayers of our state. That difference could be a $14 billion savings.

It's time Michigan invested a little in these kids futures, for all our sakes.