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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Repealing the Mandate in New Hampshire?

The New Hampshire Hospital Association reports on a bill to repeal the state's autism insurance mandate:
HB 309, repealing certain insurance mandates, proposes to repeal the following services currently required to be offered by health insurance plans in New Hampshire: midwifery services; testing for bone marrow donation; early intervention therapy services; treatment for obesity; diagnosis and treatment of autism; hearing aids; and continuation of group insurance in the event of divorce or legal separation. A hearing on this bill will be held Thursday, Feb 24th in the House Commerce Committee.

I’m 55 years old, only recently diagnosed with Asperger syndrome – a form of high-functioning autism. I’m married and a former partner of a major consultancy – all without such treatment.

Lack of social skills exposed me to sexual abuse as a child, caused several episodes of extended insomnia and isolated me socially until I did learn how to practice social skills in my teens.

Denying autistic kids the skill to connect is equally cruel. It is also fiscally irresponsible. Early treatment is costly, but much less than 50 or more years of institutionalization.

I also hope the political sponsors of HB 309 will recognize that this is political suicide. Autism affects one in 70 families. And we will speak out. Forcefully.