While the causes of autism remain a mystery, what is certain is the devastastion that can follow a disgnosis, both emotionally and financially.
The Governor of Illinois is proposing legislation to address the latter. Using his power to rewrite legislation, Governor Rod Blagojevich is proposing that insurers cover the cost of diagnosing and treating autism up to $36,000 a year per family.
The coverage would extend to those families not enrolled in large-group insurance plans and, if passed, would be the most comprehensive guarantee of any program covering autism nationwide.
It’s estimated that 26,000 Illinois children are living with autism.
"It's about protecting families who are doing what they are supposed to," Blagojevich said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "They're working. They're paying taxes, and they have insurance."
Under the proposal, an unlimited number of medical visits would be covered up until the age of 21 and treatment could include speech therapy and psychiatric services.
In order to become law, three-fifths of the House and Senate must agree.
The Sun-Times reports on a family who has spent $80,000 in order to treat their five-year-old with autism. They’ve had to mortgage their home and dip into retirement monies.
The language was added to House Bill 4225, which mandates physical therapy for victims of multiple sclerosis.
In Illinois, which is facing a $2 billion budget deficit, the governor had promised to seek alternative ways to fund autism research.
Expect massive challenges from the insurance industry and from some insured who don't want their premiums to rise.
While additions to vaccines are a leading, yet controversial theory as to the cause of autism, the vaccine court recently recognized, for the first time, that a 9-year-old Georgia girl was damaged by childhood vaccines.
When she was five, Hannah Poling received a five-shot series of childhood vaccines that "significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder" which resulted in a brain disorder with features of autism.
The case of Poling was determined to be deserving of a settlement by the federal vaccine court.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conceded the case in this November 9, 2007 document that journalist David Kirby posted on the Huffington Post.He calls it a document every American should read.
In May, Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of the National Institutes of Health announced that “public health has been too quick to dismiss concerns of families…”
Dr. Healy is the first well-known public health voice to break with her mainstream colleagues who dispel any link. #