Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard has caved in to those seeking to expand regulation of the insurance industry. As we all know, increased regulation means increased cost of health care for all. In this case, proponents of what is probably a politically popular issue – mandated coverage for treatment of autism spectrum disorders – seem to have created enough momentum to compel the Speaker to create a special committee that will draft legislation on the issue. The story was reported by the AP, via KMOX via Combest.
Perhaps Richard simply wants to get ahead of the issue. Thinks it’s inevitable and so he might as well put his stamp on it as it develops. I can understand that kind of thinking – it wouldn’t be an unreasonable political calculation on his part.
The other possibility is that this might just be the right thing to do. I don’t think it is, yet I’m open to reasonable supporting cases presenting reasonable supporting evidence. I wrote earlier this year that if autism is actually – by definition of science – a type of condition that a particular insurance policy (contract) covers, then by all means an insurance company should be legally compelled to honor the policy. It’s possible that’s how Richard sees it.
Unless he says otherwise, however, it seems as though Richard is simply being swept along with the political winds of the day in paving the way for new, popular regulation of industry. That he became convinced that because it’s little kids with autism on one side and big bad insurance companies on the other, the little kids deserve his support, no matter the implications or ramifications. Or, maybe he never was convinced of such, but simply made a political decision (see second paragraph above).
This isn’t the end of the world. But at a time when the American health insurance industry is under full scale attack by no less than the President of the United States of America, one might hope that folks like Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard, Republican of Joplin, Missouri, might be willing to do their part by holding a finger in one little section of the proverbial dam.