Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Morning Lesson

Lest you're inclined to forget (as we all are at times), what our elected representatives do really, really matters to people. We spend a lot of time here at TWM focusing on national politics, where the effects of legislation are probably more attenuated, but pertinent to the entire country. But it's worth remembering that what your State reps do is important also, even if it doesn't get covered as thoroughly (and perhaps more so, since they wouldn't do some of what they do in the clear light of national press.) A lot of times it comes down to money, as in who will and will not get it. And a lot of times, people who need a vital service will do without because of economics, or in our case in Texas, because Republicans are in charge who don't want to pay for services so much as they want to pass laws telling us what to do. So with that in mind, I'm linking to this post over at A Perfectly Cromulent Blog. The author discusses how an amendment to a bill currently before the Texas Leg will have a very real impact on his life and his family. I urge you to read it and if you agree with his opinion, call or email your State Rep and let them know. It really is worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In response o your link to A Perfectly Cromulent Blog: I too a a mother of a Autistic Child. Her disease has affected every aspect of our family's life and related to the authors experiences. Unfortunately, I dont have the resources the author has, I have never heard my daughter speak and attemt to pay for her treatment which has caused bankruptcy and divorce. I hope that all thatread the blog will raly to help our Nation's Children. I have included a letter I wrote to the Amendment Author and cc'd to many of our legislators.

Dear Honorable Larry Taylor:

I have several questions regarding your decision to amend HB 1224. I am a mother of a 4 year old autistic daughter and find it hard to believe insurance companies’ profit margins are more important than our children’s future and the potential cost to the State if something isn’t done to provide autistic children with resources.

Before I make the next statement, I feel I need to say: By no means am I discounting 9/11 and the tragic loss to our country and the many days that have followed. I have a brother in the Navy who has served in several tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But, our Nation’s children are being abducted by a silent terrorist, named Autism everyday. Where is the outcry, the uniting of resources, the strength of our Nation that makes us like no other?

A conservative estimate is that 1 in 150 children in this Country are being born with autism, 1 to 1.5 million Americans have Autism, and there is an estimated 17% annual increase in incidence rates, the cost of life long care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention, and in 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion. (ASA, 2007). The saddest thing is this terrorist has no face; no cure and we have no plan to obliterate it with “Shock and Awe.”

Instead The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill with your amendment that removed ABA and behavioral therapy components. Even though the Senate passed the sister bill unanimously without any amendments and removal of services. ABA is the most effective early intervention for young children with autism and has been recommended by the Surgeon General since 1987. Was your amendment designed to save insurance companies money as your constituents claim? I believe most constituents would tell you they put a child’s future before insurance profits. Is it true you are a past insurance agent? I have been told by constituents’ in your district you are Insurance Company Lobbyist “Best Friend.” Can you honestly say that the 0.5% rise to insurance premiums because of ABA and behavioral therapy is not worth it, when it is proven it will save the state through reduced special education needs in public schools and reduced requests for services through DADS and DARS. As a small employer I face the potential and frequent 14% premium increase EVERY year, what is .5%?
Constituents from your district share that your stance on HB 1224 is that the amended version of the bill was preferable, because it had "a better chance of passing the House.” Why would the bill have a better chance of passing if it already passed the Senate unanimously without being watered down to protect the insurance industry? What indications did you have to support that it had a better chance of passing after being diluted? I have also been told you acknowledge that ABA is the most effective treatment for autistic spectrum disorders.
If this is true, and you are re-elected, are you prepared to sponsor a House Bill in the 81st Legislative Session that adds ABA and behavioral therapy to mandated insurance coverage to children with autism. Are you willing to go a step further and require the mandate to go beyond 5 years of age? My daughter’s autism will not “disappear” at age 5.
I am looking forward to your response and have copied this letter to many voters in your district; Senators Lucio, Deuell, Nichols, and Zaffririni; Representatives Brown, Davis, Garcia, Eissler, Martinez, Pena and Truitt.
Thank you in advance for a true answer and not a form letter generated by your computer telling me I am not in your district so you will not answer but will keep my thoughts in mind in the future when voting.
Beth Cain