Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oklahoma GOP kills revived autism measure

Tahlequah Democrat vows to keep trying to require coverage for disorder
Published: February 27, 2009

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State House Republicans quashed an effort Thursday to revive the issue of requiring insurers to provide coverage for children with autism.

House Democratic floor leader Mike Brown proposed an amendment that no Oklahoma insurance carrier could provide coverage for erectile dysfunction unless it also provided coverage for autism spectrum disorders.

The amendment was killed along party lines, 59-37.

"It’s a crying shame that we allow insurance companies to cover pleasure over the needs of children in Oklahoma,” said Brown of Tahlequah.

Some loopholes
Under Brown’s amendment, insurance companies, regardless of whether they offered coverage for children with autism, could still cover erectile dysfunction for men who suffer from prostate cancer, an accident or other medical problems.

"This would only prohibit insurance companies from providing coverage for your sexual pleasure unless they provide coverage for kids with autism,” Brown said.

A bill to require insurance companies to cover autism was killed by a House committee earlier this session and can’t be revived for two years.

A similar measure did not get a hearing in the state Senate.

"I’m going to keep it on the forefront until we address this problem,” the Tahlequah lawmaker said.

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