“If I told you that a legislator who receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies sponsored a bill that was co-authored by a powerful lobbying firm that represents insurance companies your eyes would widen,” said Chris Petrisino, parent and vice president of the Nassau-Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America. “But that is what happened. And if this bill passes, our kids get screwed.’
Autism Advocacy Groups Call on Governor Paterson to Veto Breslin Autism Bill.
Advocates Say Breslin Bill Favors Insurance Companies and Hurts Autism Families.
Date: Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Time: 12:00 Noon
Location: State Capital Park at Swan Street and Alfred E. Smith Building
(August 17, 2010. Albany) Fifteen New York-based autism advocacy groups and parents of children with autism today called on Governor David Paterson to veto the autism insurance bill sponsored by incumbent State Senator Neil Breslin. A bill that the groups say will deny insurance coverage and treatment for people suffering from autism spectrum disorders.
The bill would shift early intervention reimbursements costs from the insurers back to the counties and taxpayers. "S7000-B is a step backwards, not a step forward, in insurance coverage for Autism,” said Kathy Eiss, president of the Western New York Chapter of the
Autism Society of America.”
“Insurance Chairman Neil Breslin’s bill does not provide insurance coverage for people who suffer from autism,” said Michael Smith, chairman and northeast regional director of the Foundation for Autism Information and Research. “Breslin’s bill actually does more harm than good because it discriminates against people who suffer from autism and makes it nearly impossible for them to get treatment prescribed by their doctors.”
News conferences with other autism groups are being held across New York State.
“The first line of S.7000 (Breslin’s bill) mandates that health insurers cover treatment for
people with autism. Unfortunately, the remainder of the bill wipes out the mandate and protects health insurers,” said Thomas Abinanti, in a letter to the editor he wrote to the Journal News. Abinanti is a parent, attorney and member of the Westchester Board of Legislators.“The bill is another example of ‘Albany Speak’ – that is, to say you are solving a problem, then make it worse.,” he wrote.
Autism advocates oppose the Breslin bill because it sets a standard for treatment for autism that must be “evidence-based, clinically proven and peer reviewed,” which is not required for any other medical disorder or disease. S7000-B sets a standard that treatment for autism must be "evidenced based, clinically proven and peer reviewed," which is not required for any other medical disorder or disease. “Chemotherapy for certain conditions
often does not meet these criteria, especially “clinically proven,” but individuals are not
denied coverage of chemotherapy.” said Mary Shuetz, a Board Certified Developmental Pediatrician from East Aurora. “Even the use of antibiotics, which is much more of a common occurrence, rarely follows these requirements.”
Advocates also say that the Breslin bill will shift early intervention reimbursement costs from the insurance companies back to the counties and taxpayers.
Breslin is the chairman of the State Senate’s insurance committee and has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from insurance companies and lobbyists in New York and elsewhere.
“If I told you that a legislator who receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies sponsored a bill that was co-authored by a powerful lobbying firm that
represents insurance companies your eyes would widen,” said Chris Petrisino, parent and
vice president of the Nassau-Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America. “But that is what happened. And if this bill passes, our kids get screwed.’