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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Wrights on Insurance Mandates

In the Wall Street Journal, Suzanne and Bob Wright respond to an editorial critical of insurance mandates:
Regarding your editorial "New York's Mandate Disorder" (Nov. 3): The insurance industry for years has discriminated against families who pay thousands of dollars a year in premiums, yet receive no benefits in return for their children with autism. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has wisely put a stop to this discrimination by rejecting the insurance industry's scare tactics. In the process, New York taxpayers stand to save millions of dollars in reduced special education, Medicaid and social service costs.

A majority of states (29), home to 70% of the U.S. population, have rejected the undocumented claims of the insurance industry that providing autism benefits will lead to Armageddon. The support has been bipartisan and across all regions of the nation. More states are passing more laws to stop autism insurance discrimination because the evidence is in: Behavioral treatments improve the quality of life for people with autism while reducing the demand for taxpayer-funded services. In New York, these savings have been projected at $13 million in the first six years alone.

The prevalence of autism has jumped to one in every 110 American children. No cause or cure has yet been found. States can either require insurance companies to cover proven therapies or stick taxpayers with the consequences of their inaction. Gov. Cuomo made the right choice.