Thursday, October 11, 2012

Which Candidate Has Autism Speaks Endorsed?

Autism Speaks is the largest and arguably the most influential autism advocacy group, so who are they endorsing in the 2012 election? Sorry, that's a trick question, because as a tax-exempt organization, they do not endorse candidates for federal office. But the organization has an online election center with this statement:
"On November 6, 2012, voters across the United States will go to the polls to elect our next President and a new Congress. Autism Speaks is asking all candidates seeking to serve our country after this election to advance a federal autism policy that will commit to these following principles:
  • a national plan to address the autism crisis with urgency
  • principled leadership to guide the federal response to autism
  • accountability for results from the federal research investment"
In an earlier post, I shared the detailed analysis of the candidates' positions from The Arc, but Autism Speaks has a much briefer summary of its policy principles -- so short that I can show you the whole thing:
"Autism Speaks urges all candidates running for President and Congress in 2012 to commit to these principles in establishing federal autism policy:
  • The autism crisis demands a focused, coordinated, and accountable response by our public health agencies. We support the creation of a meaningful interagency structure and process to address the autism epidemic more aggressively and with a focus on results. That process should produce an effective attack on the medical condition and lay out an action plan to achieve those steps. Such a plan must address autism through research, prevention and treatment.
  • Insufficient prioritization of federal research dollars for autism is evident not just from the social and economic burden of autism, but from the growing consensus within the scientific community that a broader initiative to unlock the secrets of the human brain would produce dramatic results. This new knowledge would not only improve the quality of life for millions of Americans (including those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and a variety of mental health conditions, including autism), but could significantly reduce the projected future national debt of the United States.
  • Progress in science should be coupled with ending insurance marketplace discrimination against people with autism and their families. Any health care reform and health insurance reform effort should include affordable access to effective, evidence-based autism treatments, including applied behavior analysis. This is especially true for the children of those who have served our country in the armed forces."
With these principles in mind, which candidate do you think will be most likely to advance an effective autism policy at the federal level?
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