By Kim Stagliano
Sharron Angle, who is running against Harry Reid in Nevada, doesn't think she should have to pay for health insurance that covers A) maternity leave; "I'm not having any more babies" or B) autism. And she put autism in airquotes. Her ignorance is astounding. She doesn't know a thing about autism, except what might be spoon fed to her now for future debates and talking points. She only knows it's "pretend" and doesn't deserve insurance. Wow. Her selfishness is common today - "Hey! I got mine - you go worry about your own and don't bother me. Find your own bootstraps!" Where does that mentality end? Hey, I don't have a prostate, so I'm not paying anything extra so your husband, father, partner can get cancer treatment. (That's facetious, BTW.)
My three children were denied ANY insurance coverage when my husband lost his job in 2008, simply because of their diagnosis. They couldn't even see Dr. Evil up there in the photo for "laser" treatments. (Ha ha!) Fortunately, Connecticut has common sense and compassion and offered a state insurance plan for which we qualified.
I sure as hell don't want my insurer telling me what care my kids must have (vaccinations or meds) or what care they can not have. Although Lord knows they ration care and deny coverage every day in HMOs and in most every insurance policy. That's between their doctor and me. I won't waver on that. But... Kids with autism break arms, catch colds, need services wholly unrelated to their autism. And yes, they need some pretty specific care too. They need the habilitative care that GRASP demands - and I'm all for that. (Guess what, I agree with GRASP on proper respectful care.) But they also need intense medical help for their GI, autoimmune, seizure issues - and I'm darn sick of having 299.0 as a diagnosis code let the insurance companies OFF THE HOOK.
Politicans on BOTH sides of the aisle have abandoned people with autism to corporate and political interests. Remember when Gov. Chris Christie in NJ was going to help with vaccine mandates? Or when we thought Obama had a grip on the epidemic and would step up for us? How about McCain and Palin, who used autism as a plank in their campaign and then promptly forgot about us? I haven't heard Palin utter a word about special education since she launched her tea party express. It's depressing. Our kids don't live as D's or Rs. We're the "A" party in my household. Airquotes fully intended. I only wish the A were imaginary here.
Thanks to Ed Schultz for seeing that our loved ones with autism are people too.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her book from Skyhorse Publishing, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa; A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism is available now for preorder and debuts November 1st. Visit her website at Kim Stagliano.