Sunday, October 19, 2008

OP/Ed Hope for autistic children with McCain-Palin

Hope for autistic with McCain-Palin

Published on Saturday, October 18, 2008 7:35 PM AKDT

Mat-Su Frontiersman - Wasilla, Alaska

Hello Alaska! We are writing from Oklahoma to thank everyone who has supported Governor Palin in her bid for the White House. Why is someone from Oklahoma writing to the town of Wasilla?We are writing not only as enthusiastic supporters of Senator McCain and Governor Palin, but as parents of a severely autistic child, who for the first time has heard from those running for highest office in the land discuss autism.As parents who work for a living, have good medical insurance, and want to care for our children, we are constantly forced to fight for every service offered by the public schools and pay out of pocket for the necessary medical treatments our children need because insurance companies in Oklahoma refuse to cover the cost of diagnosis and treatment of autism.

We nearly had a bill passed last session to mandate Oklahoma insurance companies cover the cost of behavioral, occupational, speech and physical therapies our children must have to lead independent lives, but four members of our Republican House Leadership refused to consider a bill known as Nick’s Law.

Nick’s Law passed through our Senate in a bipartisan manner four separate times, but was not given the opportunity to be heard in committee or on the floor. One of the members of our Republican House Leadership asked during caucus, “Why help these children? They are only going to end up in an institution anyway.”This is what we are up against in Oklahoma, Governor Palin. These are people from your own party talking this way about children who can’t speak for themselves.If Nick’s Law had made it to the floor, it would have passed. Big insurance money padding the pockets of our Republican House leadership spoke much louder than our 6,500-plus children in Oklahoma who need insurance coverage.

We aren’t asking for a handout. Hard-working Oklahomans just want this disease that affects more children than all pediatric cancers, AIDs and diabetes COMBINED to be covered under private-pay insurance.Actuarial studies for the state of Oklahoma show that the cost for each policyholder would be $1.66/month for single and $4.66/month for family policyholders.

Families living in Oklahoma are currently spending over $5,000 a month out of pocket so their children will not grow up to become wards of the state.I’m sure many, many Alaskans can relate to this growing issue.Please, Governor Palin, listen to us and listen for the lost voices of children who were born healthy and then taken away from us by this heartbreaking disease called autism.

Robyne and Wayne Rohde Edmond, Okla.

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