Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Autism Insurance Coverage -- Did You Say "Over"?

One of the best scenes from "Animal House" is a pep talk by John Belushi's character Bluto to his discouraged fraternity brothers: "Over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until WE decide it is!" View the clip below (with one naughty word starting with "s").

That summarizes how I feel about the battle over insurance coverage for autism in Maryland, which Delegate Kirill Reznick reports will not get out of committee this year. (In each of the eight states that have passed the insurance mandate, the legislation didn't pass the first time it was considered either.) The good news is that the General Assembly passed a commission that will study this and other aspects of autism, and Delegate Reznick and others have pledged to keep this fight alive. We also have a motivated group of parents and other advocates who will continue to do everything they can. In the meantime...

Do you want to tell Carter's parents it's over?

Do you want to tell Drew's parents it's over?

The economy is in the toilet, and some of our elected officials are using that as an excuse to not pass any legislation that has a cost attached to it. But what about the immediate costs to thousands of Maryland parents? These parents are facing the same challenges as other families (declining investments, unemployment, and more) -- but they have the additional cost of providing the care their doctors have told them their children need...costs that insurance companies refuse to cover.

If you don't want this to be over, here's what you can do:
- Join the Facebook page for the Maryland Coalition for Autism Insurance Coverage. We'll keep you up to date and let you know how you can stay involved.
- Go to autismvotes.org/maryland and sign up for email alerts about new developments in Maryland.
- Call or write to your elected officials and tell them you're disappointed that this legislation didn't pass and urge them to support it the next time it's considered. Find your representatives.

If you're not in Maryland, you can:
- Sign up for email updates for your state at autismvotes.org
- Follow autismvotes on Twitter.

Delegate Reznick offers these words of support:
"We have made a great start, and we are well on our way to getting this benefit mandated. I know that for many of you, patience is, unfortunately, not an option. The only thing I can say is that I and other supporters of this bill are planning on working towards our mutual goal over the course of the legislative interim to bring this bill back next session....I urge you to not become disheartened. Democracy is a deliberate, slow, and messy process, but at the end of the day, the right outcomes prevail, but only if the proponents continue to fight until it happens."
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