Monday, June 01, 2009

Who Really Pays?

I read this online article,entitled HMO Autism Services Drive Up Costs, and while the author raises some good questions and things to ponder, I have problems with his thinking.

My biggest sticking point is that no one knows what is causing autism, or why the number of children diagnosed has raised so drastically over just a few short years. Until this cause has been identified, how can anyone presume to know the methods for treating it effectively or preventing its cause?

From reading the article, I get the impression that the author is telling people that HMOs already cover any medical issues related to autism, and that "extensive educational and behavioral services for autistic children" should continue to not be covered because they are not medically related. How can he say this if we truly don't know the cause for autism, let alone effective ways to cope with it? And from personal experience, I can say that my HMO does not cover all medical costs associated with autism; I also resent reading the sentence "Families of autistic children will find ways to get covered by HMOs." No, they won't. Especially if they are already overwhelmed with trying to keep their families afloat with one (or more) less jobs and rising tax rates.

What if the cause for some cases of autism are the result of reactions to something in the environment, like asbestos or second-hand smoke? What if we stopped HMO coverage for cancer? And why does this person assume that one policy fits all for everyone affected by autism, because if there's one thing I've learned it's that autism affects everyone differently.

I understand the cause for concern. As the parent of a child on the spectrum, I know how high costs can quickly add up for services such as Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language, and Developmental Services. I have seen other families struggle with pure medical costs and additional health issues. Just imagine those costs going "cha-ching" every 20 seconds (the rate a child is diagnosed with autism) to an HMO CFO.

Mr Enthoven is concerned that "these burdens will not be spread evenly in California." Very true. How about we all try working together instead of pointing the finger at someone else and say "No, you pay for it"?

I think were all pretty hurting from our current and future economic outlook, especially here in California. I think working families are being made to bail out plenty corporations and bad planning from their governments. Speaking as a working class mom with a special needs child, I think we need some help for our children who are affected by something that is still being figured out. This is not only our future, it is our childrens' as well. Please don't make them pay for our bad behaviour and unwillingness to work together.

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