First off, the rider does not help YOU...families who already have a child with a diagnosis. The rider would have to be purchased before a child is born. How many of you would have opted to pay extra for autism coverage before your child was born, just in case they happened to become diagnosed with autism? I can honestly say that I wouldn't have. Young parents are already faced with so many financial strains of having a new baby. The few that might buy into this plan would probably be those that already have autism in their family. So, we know that MANY children still wouldn't receive coverage for their treatment because their parents didn't buy into the rider. Second, the rider that has been proposed by the insurance companies only allows coverage for children from 2-6 years old. It only allows $25,000 a year for coverage, and there is a daily limit of $100. We know that these severe limits would not provide for quality treatment. There is no way that a full early intensive program could be attained with these limitations. Third, There are not riders for preemies, cancer or diabetes. Why is this medical problem not good enough for full health insurance coverage? Lastly, we in the autism community view the rider as a calculated distraction by the insurance lobby, and vote for the rider is a vote against families and children with autism.
This argument makes all the points I could every want to make on the issue of riders. There is no rider for HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes... why should there be for autism? Why should I pay premiums that offset the health care of those who smoke or share needles, yet have no access for my son when he has medical diagnosis through no fault of his or even my own? But, hey, its better than Bill Bolling.
Steve Shannon's staff had no idea of his stance on his insurance mandates. They probably don't need to know much, since that really isn't part of the AG's job. But they did tell me that Steve Shannon's brother had Down's Syndrome. He grew up in a home where he witnessed his parents advocacy for his brother and other kids like him on a daily basis and that, as staffers, they heard stories about his parents dedication often. So I guess I am going to do a little more research before Sunday. I think I am leaning Shannon.