BY MICHAEL MCNUTT - CAPITOL BUREAU
Published: March 19, 2009
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A key proponent of legislation to make insurance companies cover children with autism has filed a complaint against the author of a study that shows the cost of such a mandate could increase rates nearly 20 percent.
Wayne Rohde, who has an 11-year-old son with autism, said Wednesday he filed a complaint against Thomas Cummins of Tulsa, who performed the study for the House of Representatives.
Rohde said he filed the complaint with the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline in Washington, claiming Cummins’ report is misleading and he did not take precautions to keep others from misusing his findings. Rohde said he wants Cummins to publicly retract the study’s findings.
"A lot of the rhetoric coming from the leadership of both chambers is that it’s going to cost too much,” Rohde said.
Cummins, who has been doing actuary studies for the Legislature since 1981, said Wednesday he had no comment on Rohde’s complaint.
His study showed the cost of an insurance mandate would lead to at least a 7.8 percent increase in rates for insured Oklahomans. Rohde said other studies have put the increase at 1 percent or less.
House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, issued a statement saying Cummins’ work "was conducted by a professional actuary who has worked in the field for more than 35 years. He has also performed actuarial studies for all pension legislation for the House and Senate for over two decades.”
A House committee considered Cummins’ study last month when it took up a bill that would require insurance companies to cover children with autism. The bill failed.