Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Autism column costs local paper its credibility

Last week,  I canceled my subscription to the News and Messenger, the local Prince William County newspaper because of a column written by Michael Shannon, a part time columnist, on the pending insurance bill.  I encourage every parent to read the pro-insurance industry, anti-autism mandate lines espoused by this writer.  They are done so with some of the meanest spirit that I have seen in print.

"And all for only an additional premium of $59 per year! How’s that for a return on your investment? Plus, persuading the General Assembly to pass the hat for you avoids those awkward encounters in the break room when you ask coworkers to contribute to your family’s therapy fund. Instead the state is forcing everyone in the company to pay for autism coverage they may not want or need.
Socialized medicine — meet socialized compassion."
There is more, but you really have to read the article for full effect.  I wrote him to let him know that I had made the personal decision to cancel my subscription based on his tone, a tone before in people who had accuse people with disabilities like my son's to be a drain on society and that this coverage would reduce cost across the board.  His response:
"Ms. Kirkland,

 I am completely unfamiliar with your son's problem. But based on your email
I can say you have a comprehension problem."
Stellar company notwithstanding, that is not where the N&M lost its credibility.  No, it came in the comments sections.  One of those "lobbyists" - really autism lobbyists are parents of children with autism - named Lee Talley posted the following comment.  
"Mr. Shannon
Your attacks and the lies on the Autism Bill passed by both houses of the Virginia legislature show the weakness of your position and perhaps who is paying you. This bill has NOTHING to do with a federal mandate based upon the commerce clause but about the business practices of a regulated business in the state of Virginia. The insurance industry is not a free market industry. If you've had a loved one that needed reconstructive surgery from a mastectomy to having caught cancer in the early stages via a pap smear then you have BENEFITED from mandates.

I as a Republican applaud the courage of the House and Senate Republican leadership for tackling this issue head on! Being a Republican is about solutions, not just saying no all the time. Our leaders realize the true cost to the commonwealth that if 1 in 100 kids end up being wards of the state. That cost is approximately 3 million dollars a year. You think we have budget problems now just wait till these kids grow up, the Autism just doesn't go away.

Where do you even get off saying parents will get a windfall of free care up to $36,000! Last time I checked I pay $400 dollars a month in insurance premiums. FREE I don;t think so. These companies condemn our children to welfare and government hand outs by nothing more than a diagnosis. Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy is no different for my child than it is for Congresswoman Giffords! My son has a brain injury too its call, AUTISM! When insurance companies start paying for treatments not based on diagnosis then we can reconvene this issue until the mean time if it takes a "mandate" to fix it then so be it.

Ironically you compare this mandate to Obamacare yet funny thing if you go download a copy of the healthcare bill, the word Autism is not to be found anywhere in the entire 1,100 page document. So again I applaud Republican leaders, like Speaker Howell, Del Hugo, Del Cox, and esp Delegate Tag Greason for bringing this bill to the legislator and I will applaud Governor McDonnell when he signs the bill into law.

Your article really needs a "paid for by" at the end of it because it reeks of someone who diluted their good sense and conscience with cold hard cash."

This thoughtful, albeit angry response, no worse than any of the other stuff that has gone on this week in light of the Manassas area tragedies on their comment boards (actually much better) and it was removed by their editor without public explanation.  I'm sorry, I thought they were a legitimate news source.  I guess I was wrong.  

I would encourage parents of autistic children to call the editors of the News and Messenger to call the editors and  demand that they do not engage in this sort of censorship in the future.  Mr. Talley brought the other side to Shannon's piece in a tone no worse than his and immediately blocked it from view.  What is their agenda?  

If you are concerned, please call the editors now:

Executive EditorSusan Svihlik703-530-3920

Editorial Page EditorJonathan Hunley703-369-5738

Monday, February 14, 2011

Justice Department warns Virginia of suit over failures

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

"Sent to Gov. Bob McDonnell late Thursday, the long-anticipated report gives the state 49 days to respond favorably to a litany of adverse findings affecting five state institutions housing 1,100 individuals; but it also draws attention to the condition of 8,600 other people in the community served by money from federal care waivers and to 6,400 others waiting for help, 3,000 of whom are regarded as critically in need."

Jimmy is on the IFDDS waitlist.  After reading the report, I would rather die than have him at one of the training centers.  He is no criminal.  But the cannot cut current services to fund a few more waiver slots, as they have been discussing.  I think DOJ will have a problem with that as well.  All during budget season.  Timing is everything.  

If you want to get yourself angry, read the comments on the article.  There are some really ugly people in the world.  They like to hang out on the web.  

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Donations to people who voted against the autism bill...

At least the big ones in the House of Delegates.  Kind of interesting....

Here's a list of the "autism deniers," how long they have been in the House of Delegates, and their haul from the health care industry:
Rob Bell (R-Albemarle, 2002-2010): $55,820
Dickie Bell (R-Staunton, 2010): $10,747
Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge, 2002-2010): $$57,498
Johnny Joannou (D-Norfolk, 1998-2010): $14,200
Chris Jones (R-Suffolk, 1998-2010): $263,683
Steve Landes (R-Augusta, 1996-2010): $129,175
Dave Nutter (R-Montgomery County, 2002-2010): $119,182
Chris Peace (R-Hanover, 2006-2010): $82,384
Brenda Pogge (R-York, 2010): $$13,350
Lacey Putney (I-Bedford, "forever"): $101,522
Roxanne Robinson (R-Chesterfield, 2010): $27,865

That's not to say that the others haven't gotten lots of loot from health care, just that the industry didn't make it to the top of their contributor lists. For example, Greg Habeeb (R-Roanoke County, 2010) pulled in $21,266, while Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomack, 2004-2010) got $52,479.

My delegate, while he has several contributions from the healthcare industry this cycle (enough for anyone to be suspicious on his change of heart), is nowhere near the top of list.  Corruption is a word I hear bandied about a lot - most when one side of the political spectrum doesn't like what someone on the other is doing.  But I think that when you have this much money passing through the political process, it leads to a systemic corruption.  And if you look at the affliations, it has infected Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.  That needs to be changed - it is immoral and everything good government shouldn't be.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

One more thing...

One more thing for me to do, but this seems like fun.  I am on the Patch's mom council for Manassas Park.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Teaching the Classics!!!

Oh my gosh... too funny!

Something Jackson Miller Did Right in Richmond

Because he in person is a nice guy, I wanted to find something positive to say, even though I am cheesed off about the autism thing.  Thanks to a friend, I didn't have to search very hard.

HB 1476 Sexual abuse; limitations period.


Torts; sexual abuse; limitations period.  Extends the limitations period for actions for sexual abuse committed during the infancy or incapacity of the abused person from two years to 25 years from the time of the removal of the infancy or incapacity or from the time the cause of action otherwise accrues

A Virginia Autism Bill Update

"Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas) said he opposed the bill because it only applies to some businesses, it would help a limited number of families and he doesn't believe federal law allows the state to cap annual costs at $35,000. He later asked Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) to determine whether federal law allows the General Assembly to cap costs at $35,000 a year. Cuccinelli has yet to issue an opinion.

And, considering Howell's power over bills and committee assignments, other members of the Republican-controlled House courted danger by trying to amend or kill the proposal, while the conservative group Americans for Prosperity targeted Howell (R-Stafford) in recorded phone calls statewide. The Virginia Tea Party also attacked the bill.

"This creates a slippery slope to a nanny-state type of government, eroding away the freedom of choice and autonomy that businesses and individuals enjoy today," said Mark Kevin Lloyd, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation.

The Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Virginia State Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business and the Virginia Association of Health Plans also remain opposed, citing the expense of another mandate."

Not shocked about the Tea Party, given a member told me that Jimmy was a drain on his tax dollars and should have been aborted after prenatal testing.  Genius, that one... Not that autism can be detected and, hey, I thought the Republican Party was pro-life?  Jackson Miller.... wasn't it three years ago that he co-sponsored autism legislation to cover children up to 18?  Or was that two years?  He knows the political reality - that what needs to get through isn't going to.  Nothing is going to get through Richmond, that Richmond that puts business interests above the needs of children; paid, well funded lobbyist-donors above the needs of voters.

This bill won't help Jimmy.  That has sucked a lot of my enthusiasm out for it and I am heartbroken for my son and the other kids this won't help.  I admire those women who have put so much effort into, knowing their kids aren't going to be covered either - they are better people than I ever will be.  Autism is a medical condition.  ABA is a therapy that helps.  This bill's passage still needs to happen to help families with young children who need to get intervention today.  It will save expenses in lifetime care and education - not the lobbyists principal interests, but Virginia's tax dollars, which the people in Richmond are supposed to be stewards for.  Show a little vision here.

Insurance companies won't do the right thing unless you force them to do so.  That isn't a nanny state - if that dude from the Tea Party needs a Viagra prescription, his insurance covers it in Virginia.  Why are impotent men more important than autistic kids?