We understand that A1037a/S70000b, the Autism Speaks endorsed insurance bill for autism, is likely to pass in New York. It's verbiage requires that any approved therapies must be "evidence-based, clinically-proven, and peer-reviewed,” a standard used in no other state and for no other health disorder under New York law. That sounds a lot like ABA and pharmaceutical drugs, and drugs are already covered for most of our kids. Does this mean GI testing and treatment is excluded? What about immune-related testing and treatment? What about occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy?
Our friends in New York have asked several people at Autism Speaks, but have been unable to secure an answer as of this writing.
The alternative bill was endorsed by numerous autism organizations from the NAA-NYC to GRASP (to give you an idea of the wide reach of help it included for people with autism) but did not have the lobbying power (those walks raise a lot of money) of Autism Speaks or the safety (for the insurance companies that is) of only having to provide the most basic, and some would say insufficient, care.
Autism Action Network and the Foundation for Autism Media and Research have been leading the charge on getting real autism reform passed with different legislation A6888/S6123.
They are asking New Yorkers (and only New Yorkers please) to call Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver today at (518) 455-3791 and politely ask what autism therapies are “Evidenced-based, clinically proven and peer-reviewed.”
And for you folks not in New York, why not ask Autism Speaks the same question at (212) 252-8584.