NOTE: For more information, including links to all my posts on autism insurance in Wisconsin, visit Wisconsin Autism Insurance - Updates from Elvis Sightings
The hearing on AB15, a bill to require insurers in Wisconsin to cover autism treatments, is going on right now (morning of 2/19). (Actually it's on the substitute amendment offered yesterday, Feb. 18, to bring the WI Assembly version in line with the WI Senate version, about which I blogged earlier this month and which sailed unanimously through committee and is now awaiting scheduling in the Senate).
JoyDad is there to testify. I reviewed his testimony early this morning -- it looked good, and much better thought out than my extemporaneous testimony on the same issue two years ago! But I had Joy with me then, an advantage he doesn't have since she's getting a House Blend therapy session right now. So maybe it all evens out.
Good luck, JoyDad! Will update later.
Update as promised:
Testimony is done! Wow, marathon hearing. JoyDad had to wait a long time to speak his piece, and the hearing went on for several hours after that. Between 5 & 6 hours, maybe? Which is good, because it means a lot of people showed up. It appeared that they were all speaking in favor, which seems to be the pattern, though I only listened to parts of the hearing via streaming video. I will post the link when they get the video back online. (UPDATE: WI Assembly Committee On Insurance hearing video on AB15 here.) Anyway, the opposition doesn't show up, just turns in written testimony and thereby avoids meeting the passion of the parents face to face...
JoyDad would have preferred to testify without having had to wait so long, getting more keyed up by the minute. He says he tried to speak slowly, but went faster than he'd planned. That's OK, they had to cut off other speakers who went too long! One surprise was that JoyDad didn't get any questions from the legislators. He'd been rather looking forward to going head-to-head with a certain Assemblyman, but the guy was out of the room at the time.
In honor of JoyDad's efforts, I'm providing a link to an MP3 of a song by his band.
The name of the song is Testify! Not only is the title beautifully appropriate for the day's activities, it's also a fine running tempo for me. As the lyrics say repeatedly, Woo-hoo-hoo!
(If you'd care to buy the album, you may do so online at CD-Baby. Thus endeth the advertising plug.)
Further Update (March 5): The Autism Society of Wisconsin has announced that the Assembly Committee on Insurance will vote on AB15 on Thursday, March 12. The measure is expected to pass, and would then be forwarded back to the full Assembly for scheduling.
Further Update (May 7): The committee vote was cancelled and has not been re-scheduled. Someone on the committee is uncomfortable about something. The holdout is probably a Democrat, because Democrats have the committee majority and the Democratic chair had indicated the votes were there to pass it, so a Republican's opposition wouldn't have held things up. Rep. David Cullen of Milwaukee, Rep.Cullen@legis.wisconsin.gov, is chair of the committee. A bit of citizen input to Rep. Cullen and other members of the Assembly Committee on Insurance would be apropos!
And yet a Further Update (May 14) -- According to Wisconsin Autism Insurance Now, the autism insurance bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance (which I think means that it's back out of the hands of the Assembly Committee on Insurance, so Rep. Ziegelbauer's misplaced concerns will no longer be the determining factor...) The site goes on to say, "We have been told by leaders in both houses that the bill will be considered in the context of the state budget -– either included in the state budget or accounted for and considered immediately after the state budget."
Updates R Us (May 29) -- The Joint Finance Committee last night passed Motion 700, an omnibus set of budget provisions that includes the autism measure (on pages 20-22). This will now go back to both the WI Assembly and Senate as part of the budget bill, no longer as AB15/SB3. With the time-pressure to get the budget through, and as a tiny part of a much larger whole, and with the support of the leadership of both houses plus the governor, it would be a whole lot harder to kill at this point. Apparently nobody even TRIED to kill it last night, having bigger fish to fry -- but all of the minority party objections were over-ridden along party lines anyway. I've made this all into a separate post too, but will continue to update here so it's all in one place for my Google visitors (welcome!)