For the first time in nearly a decade, legislators are looking at the issue of insurance coverage for autistic children. On Wednesday, dozens of families from across Oklahoma gathered at the state capitol to make their presence known.
"We have really good momentum and a lot of positive support," mother Tara Hood said.
Hood is referencing House Bill 2962. She's the mother of two autistic children. Statistics show one in every 64 children will be born with autism.
"You get the news and it's a punch in the gut," she said. "Then in Oklahoma, you find out none of the [suggested] therapies are covered, so it's a double kick in the gut."Bill Hickman writes at The Oklahoman:
As the father of a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, an attorney who has represented children with special needs, and chairman of the board of the Good Shepherd School for Autism in Oklahoma City, I'm grateful that state Reps. Jason Nelson and Jason Dunnington, both of Oklahoma City, have introduced House Bill 2962. This represents a bipartisan effort to enact an insurance mandate for autism coverage this legislative session.
Oklahoma parents who have children diagnosed with autism deserve the same treatment in insurance law as parents whose children are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Be it autism or a life-threatening illness, treatment is critical to the child and cost-prohibitive for most parents without insurance.
If 43 states and the District of Columbia can require autism coverage in their states, so can Oklahoma. I call on all citizens and lawmakers to support this quest and make certain the 1 in 68 Oklahoma children who need and deserve autism treatment receive it.
This isn't just a legal issue. It's also a moral one, and one that Oklahoma must finally address.