Take Action Tuesday, March 15, 2011: 7 Reasons…
- Autism CAN be treated. Research shows that 47% of children who receive early, intensive behavioral interventions will achieve normal functioning (read: be self sufficient adults) and another 40% will improve significantly. The results without treatment average about 3% that will achieve normal functioning.
- Passage of autism reform legislation will create a job industry in Michigan. Every year a class of students at Eastern and Western Michigan Universities graduate with degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis and leave Michigan because there are no jobs for them here. There are only 90 behavior analysts currently working in Michigan. There are 2,000 working in Florida, where autism treatment and diagnosis is a covered benefit.
- Autism is a medical issue, not an educational issue. We can’t expect our schools to manage medical issues. We wouldn’t expect them to come up with a treatment plan for diabetes or cancer and shouldn’t expect them to do so for autism, either. Autism needs to be treated in a research based setting.
- Michigan can’t afford to support 15,000 dependent adults. There are 15,000 school aged children living in Michigan that have an autism diagnosis. The average lifetime cost for an untreated person with autism is $3.7 million with much of that money being paid during the person’s adult life. The average lifetime cost for a person who has received early, intensive behavioral intervention is $650,000. You do the math.
- Michigan can’t afford to be less 15,000 tax paying adults. As if the cost of supporting untreated people with autism isn’t enough, the revenue loss of 15,000 adults that are not paying income and property taxes will only increase Michigan’s financial problems.
- Coverage doesn’t cost as much as you think. Independent actuarial studies show that insurance premiums increase less than 1% when autism coverage is included. Costs in the first three to five years will be around 1/10 of 1%.
- Insurance companies’ failure to provide coverage for autism treatment and diagnosis is discriminatory. Can you imagine if the insurance companies refused coverage for people with Crohn’s disease or based on color or gender? I think not. Refusing to cover treatment based on a diagnosis cannot be justified.