Yet another bill to mandate autism coverage

Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst (R-Manchester) has introduced a bill that would impose a “mandate of insurance coverage for all symptoms and care of Autism Spectrum Disorders,” according to his most recent Capitol Report. HB 357 comes after Rep. Sara Lampe (D-Springfield) and Rep. Jeff Grisamore (R-Lee’s Summit) have filed similar bills this session. Sen. Scott Rupp (R-St. Charles County) has also filed a bill in the senate.

What are the differences between these bills, and which ones will move? Will we see the one that does move incorporate elements of the others?

I got to know Dwight when I worked on his first special election to the legislature, and we’ve been friends since. But I must say I’m disappointed he is choosing this particular route to help families with autism (I give major credit, however, for his special needs scholarship bill last year). No doubt he feels strongly about the issue, as his grandson, who had autism, passed away a couple years ago from health related complications. But no matter the personal, emotional stories involved, we can’t avoid the fact that bills like this are forms of regulation that undermine the free nature of the marketplace and increase end costs for consumers.

As the rate of autism has increased and many families affected choose to organize politically and lobby for government assistance, the political cause of autism is increasingly popular. The insurance industry and free market groups haven’t gone away; then there’s the natural legislative inertia, and a host of other issues to compete with this session for attention. We’ll see what the autism lobby can do with these bills this session…

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3 Comments

Filed under Health Care, Statism

3 responses to “Yet another bill to mandate autism coverage

  1. Brian Johnson

    Dwight,

    Great to hear from you, I hope you are well. I look forward to connecting personally, but I wanted to follow up in form with a comment.

    I try my best to appreciate the personal aspects involved with legislation, and there will definitely be times when I don’t do a good enough job or simply don’t have enough information or experience to do so to the degree I would like.

    I appreciate your offer to learn more about what life is like for those on the AS and their families. I have heard many personal stories from those who have worked with autistic children, and have known individuals (both in childhood and adulthood) with autism.

    However, I’m not intimately familiar with ASD issues and may never be. An opportunity like this would certainly enhance my understanding and add to my personal perspective as I consider policy viewpoints on this issue.

    I’m in Columbia studying this semester and next, but may be able to make it to St. Louis to visit the Judevine Center at some point. Alternatively, maybe I could take up the spirit of your suggestion by visiting a therapy room at a facility closer to Columbia.

    I’ll be in touch. Great to hear from you.

    Brian

  2. Dwight Scharnhorst

    Brian
    Hope things are going well for you and you are blessed with happiness and health.Not everyone is so fortunate.
    Would enjoy conversation on the ASD issue since it appears that your positions are purely political. If you’d choose to spend a half day at Judevine Center in a therapy room with a severe autistic to be more informed on an issue your speaking out on I can assist in arranging it. This is in no way mean spirited, I believe you need more information and need to understand that diabetes was a mandate and everything we legislate is a mandate to someone.
    I’m still at 314-401-8569 on cell.
    Very best to you if I don’t hear from you.

    God Bless You
    Dwight

  3. The reason for nearly 30 states to introduce or reintroduce legislation for autism mandates is because of the epidemic that is exploding and the tremendous financial burden placed upon the families and extended family members to recover children from the iron grasp of autism.

    Since autism is a medical condition and these children can improve, why are health insurers running away. They keep saying that treatments are experimental or that they should be the responsibility of the schools. Both are nonsense but leads us to question the motives of the insurance industry.

    In most states, health insurance companies enjoy a near monopoly status, thus giving itself the ability to shed less desirable risk on to the taxpayers in the form of medicaid or other state paid for health care.

    Opponents to mandates are quick to quote that the free market should determine the course of action. Then why is it that the free market is moving faster and faster away from coverage of medical conditions. There is no free market as long as you have a monopoly.

    Allow the free market to produce products or services. Why should we wait for the free market to do so, when the monopoly is the one funding political campaigns to say “no” to the most vulnerable members of our society, the children with special needs.

    The reality of the situation is this. Either insurance helps provide coverage, or the taxpayers will have to pick up a huge bill when these children age out and have no one else to provide for them.

    Once the insurance mandate is in place, providers flock to the state to administer therapies. Evident from the other 8 states that have passed this mandate.

    Then some amazing things that happen after the mandate. The schools start participating in the treatments as they should to help shoulder the overall cost.

    The total costs start to lower, the free market dictates provider costs, and best of all, thousands of children will be able to live independent and bountiful lives.

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