Tulsa World OP/Ed
By Staff Reports
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Nevada became the 12th state to pass autism insurance mandates. New Mexico, Montana and Utah also passed legislation in 2009. Connecticut and New Jersey aren't far behind. Our legislators say, "Oklahoma is unique from other states regarding the uninsured." Florida, Louisiana, Arizona and Texas all have high uninsured rates. All have passed autism insurance legislation and all are red states.
Our opponents say there's a lack of qualified therapists in Oklahoma. There are many board certified behavior analysts who travel to Oklahoma to supervise and train tutors and develop and oversee treatment programs. States that have passed similar legislation have seen large influxes of medical practitioners once physicians and therapists realize they will be paid for their services. Recently, an autism therapist from Oklahoma City moved to Texas because she couldn't afford to practice in Oklahoma while having to depend on out-of-pocket payments from parents.
Republican legislators say Nick's Law is too costly. Two actuarial studies conclude that Nick's Law, which would mandate autism treatment for children in insurance plans, would have an impact of less than 1 percent. Yet legislators keep using an inflated study showing the cost could rise up to 19.8 percent. There isn't another study in the U.S. that supports that claim. How much longer can our children go without health care? How many more families need to go bankrupt? How many more divorces are necessary? We lose a child a day in Oklahoma to autism. What is it going to take, Oklahoma?
Robyne and Wayne Rohde. Edmond