"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An injustice against our community...

      As a resident of the State of NH, as a registered voter, as a taxpayer, and as a member of the Autism community I feel I need to share my feelings of outrage regarding a new bill that will be introduced on Thursday, February 24th to the NH House of Representatives.  I'm speaking about House Bill 309, sponsored by John Hunt, a resident of Rindge NH and the Chair of the Committee for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  This is a bill to revoke all Insurance Mandates in the past 3 years in the state of NH.  If passed, the bill will not only effect the NH Autism Community, but it will effect many other communities as well.  This bill will repeal coverage for the use of Certified Midwives, the cost of testing for the donation of bone marrow, the continuation of group health insurance after divorce or legal separation, coverage of early intervention therapy, coverage for treatment for obesity or morbid obesity, coverage for hearing aids for those with deafness or hearing loss and it would also revoke Connor's Law, which is the new Autism insurance mandate for NH.  As you can see, this bill doesn't just effect the Autism Community but it effects a vast majority of the State.  It is up to us to take a stand. 
     I first heard of this via email from Peanuts Special Educator.  It was a forward of an email she had received from a colleague.  In is stated perfectly, "Please express your outrage at this violation of progress for our children by calling your House Reps, sending them an email or better yet, attend the hearing and sign in OPPOSED to this bill."
     The purpose of Connors Law is to assist families struggling with Autism to pay for services for their children.  Included in these services is ABA Therapy (the gold standard of treatment for Autism).  The average cost for the minimum amount (25 hours per week) of ABA Therapy will cost a family on average $75,000 per year, and that is just for the minimum!  Some children require as much as 40 hours a week of ABA Therapy.  This therapy will not necessarily recover a child with Autism, but it does give them a fighting chance to become a productive member of society.  The CDC states that 1 in 110 children (1 in 70 boys) will be diagnosed with Autism.  Knowing this, I believe everyone should invest in the future of these children, because they ARE our future.  If 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with Autism, then that means 2,628 children in the State of NH will be diagnosed with Autism in the year 2011.  (Based off of the 2011 population of NH children reported by the Children's Defense Fund).
      Connors law would require Private Insurers and HMO's to cover up to $36,000 per year for children aged 0-12 years and $27,000 per year for children aged 13-21. As you can see, this only provides a dent in the yearly cost for ABA Therapy, but a dent is better than none at all. In my opinion, it would be irresponsible for this bill to be passed.  The bill states that the purpose of it's introduction was related to "fiscal impact."  What about the fiscal impact on families across the state who are already struggling in our down economy?  Has this man done his homework?  A cost benefit analysis of Connors law showed, "an estimated long term savings to be 597.8 million dollars."  Hows that for fiscal impact?
      How can you help?  If you are a NH state resident I URGE you to take a small amount of time out of your schedule and voice your opinion.  Do as I have and email your Representatives (click here to find out who your Representative is for your area) as well as the Chair of the Committee, John Hunt (jbhunt@prodigy.net ) and Vice Chair Jennifer Coffey (jenn.coffey@leg.state.nh.us ) to voice your disapproval of the bill.  I also ask that we pray for all of those who are traveling to the State House on February 24th to testify against House Bill 309.  Thank-you.

"Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."  Psalm 55:22


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