The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance issues, including the impact of the Affordable Care Act.The Affordable Care Act has had major consequences for autistic people in West Virginia. Kathy Shapell, president of the Mountaineer Autism Project, writes at The Charleston Gazette-Mail:
First and most important, this coverage provides evidence-based treatment that works. The cost of lifelong care for individuals with autism can be reduced by two-thirds with early diagnosis and treatment, according to the Autism Society of America.
With the ACA, our state is saving taxpayers’ millions of dollars in lifelong care by giving them access to early, effective treatment. In many cases, a child will ultimately be able to attend school in a regular classroom with his or her peers and go on to lead a productive life.
Second, there’s the economic impact from the increase in therapists. The ACA has helped create hundreds of new jobs around autism therapy. Repealing the ACA could endanger those jobs.
Third, access to evidence-based autism treatment is preventing young families from leaving West Virginia. With our state steadily losing population, we need to do everything we can to encourage young families to stay.
Given the obvious benefits of the ACA — to families, to children and to West Virginia — it makes no sense to repeal it without a replacement that offers the same or better coverage. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, is not the answer.