Monday, March 7, 2011

Now They're Coming For Her Autism Insurance

First, they came for Joy's parents' paychecks.
[The increased benefits contribution in the so-called "budget repair bill" is equivalent to a 150% income tax hike for us, both state workers.]

Then, they came for her education.
[The proposed state budget contains close to $900 million in cuts to state aids for public schooling.]

Then, they came for her medical assistance.
[The $500 million Medicaid cut in the budget bill stands to be doubled by the loss in matching funds from the federal government, which would add up to a billion in unspecified Medicaid cuts.]

Now, they're coming for her autism insurance.

I've chronicled on this blog in some detail the years of struggle to force insurers to cover autism-related treatments here in Wisconsin. It took years of patient long-term advocacy (with some good old-fashioned hollering thrown in), but finally in 2009 it became law: insurers in Wisconsin were required to cover evidence-based autism-related treatments.

But now two new bills are circulating, expected to be introduced in the next week or two, that would undermine autism insurance and a whole series of other insurance requirements. Orwellianly-dubbed the "Health Choices and Opportunities" bills, they would set in motion a chain of events that would eventually allow the insurance commissioner to waive the mandates we fought so long and hard to put in place.

The ten hours per week of autism therapy that Joy now receives are covered by our insurance. This is coverage that her (currently-at-risk) Medicaid programs do not provide.

I am feeling bombarded.

And yet I know that as members of the middle class, with two cars and a modest home of our own and a job-and-a-half, we're still going to be relatively OK.

What of those who aren't OK now, or who are hanging onto OK by their fingernails, who will be far-far-less OK if all this passes?

This has all been sprung on the unsuspecting people of Wisconsin in the PAST THREE WEEKS.

Please help us spread the word, and keep us in your prayers.

OK, here's the political action steps, for those who are eligible and feel so moved. I never thought I'd be this openly partisan on this blog. But it's THAT important.

  • Join Russ Feingold's Progressives United political action committee (you don't have to live in Wisconsin to do this one!)
  • Sign up to be contacted to recall Governor Scott Walker once he's been in office for a year.
  • Visit Recall the Republican 8, a site dedicated to recalling 8 Wisconsin state senators. (I was hesitant about this at first; but they didn't run openly on this extreme an agenda.)
  • Vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg on April 5 for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.


Chris P-M said...

Hey, surprised we haven't met yet! Alysia linked me up to your blog and I HEAR you! I was in Madison a couple weeks ago and have done everything you mentioned in your post. :)

I talked w/ our ABA lead therapist a couple days ago and he confirmed what you mentioned about Walker wanting to monkey with the Autism mandate AND the waiver. Can this guy be any more divisive?!

My fingers are crossed that "the 14" stay put until things really turn around. This CAN'T go through.

BTW, where in WI are you? We're in Sussex.

JoyMama said...

Hi Chris P-M -- *love* your blog, and it's so good for me to see you blogging this same stuff from a very similar perspective to mine.

E-mail me: ElvisSightings AT gmail DOT com
We'll chat further!