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Friday, June 29, 2012

Autism and the Health Care Decision

Autism Speaks issued a statement on the Supreme Court's decision in the health care case:
"The need for people with autism to get good quality care is Autism Speaks' first priority. Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act provides clarity to our efforts to achieve that mission. It should be noted that the decision does not affect the autism insurance reform laws enacted by 31 states.
"The Affordable Care Act requires all states to establish a set of 10 'essential health benefits,' one of which is 'Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.' Congress specifically added 'including behavioral health treatment' to address autism therapies, such as Applied Behavior Analysis.
"For the past several months, Autism Speaks has raised concerns with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is overseeing the implementation of the ACA, that the requirement for behavioral health treatment coverage is not being pursued. Congress required such treatment be included as an essential health benefit and the U.S. Supreme Court has held the act constitutional. It is now the obligation of HHS to respect the intent of Congress by insisting all states include behavioral health treatment, such as ABA for autism."
You can learn more about Autism Speaks and the Affordable Care Act here.
From the Autism Society:
Today the Supreme Court issued its decision on the Affordable Care Act. The decision of the Court is a part of our nation's founding principles of checks and balances among our government institutions.
Regardless of today’s decision, the reality is that the problems faced by individuals living with autism and their families remain unsolved. We are continuing to struggle to access the services we need. Never mind that more than 30 states have recently required insurance providers to cover certain autism-related treatments and services. In many of these same states, individuals with autism are denied basic coverage. In fact, with ongoing cutbacks in government funding, more and more of us are using limited funds to pay for therapies, personal assistance or other necessities, and often times we cannot afford basic insurance for preventative care.

Often, when individuals receive medical coverage, they lack assistance for behavioral treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which for some individuals can be more necessary to improving outcomes than medical approaches. For those of us more significantly affected by autism, treatment can cost up to $72,000 per year. This cost is difficult for many families, particularly in times of need.
The Autism Society believes all governmental and non-governmental entities must understand that any health-care reform must not preclude individuals with developmental disabilities from life-changing therapies. In addition, for health-care to be effective, autism must be viewed as a whole-body condition that requires medical and non-medical treatments. While we applaud the federal and state continued support of Medicaid and Medicare, we need to do more
From Easter Seals:
Easter Seals applauds the U.S. Supreme Court on its Affordable Care Act (ACA) ruling. The Court’s ruling ensures the continuation of the law’s policies that protect access to private health insurance for children with pre-existing conditions and young adult dependent children up to the age of 26, bar lifetime health insurance caps, and leaves in place the essential policies that will take effect in 2014. Easter Seals believes access to appropriate and high quality health care services is essential for people with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Simply put, the ACA is critical to millions of families living with disabilities.