Health Care Reform: Why It Doesn't Work For My Family

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Before you start blasting away at my statement above and claiming I'm an arrogant Republican sympathizer with little or no regard for the little people, let me tell you why it doesn't work for me. 

In the over 2,000 pages that this comprehensive health care reform bill has, there is not one mention of Autism being covered by health care.  Not one.  That means that of the over 300 million American citizens in this country, an estimate of 3 million will not receive the necessary diagnosis or treatment to become useful citizens.  Think of that number:  3 million. 

But, you might say, the status quo isn't any better, and I should be happy for those that will be covered for their colds, flu, and catastrophic, life-threatening illnesses that can bankrupt families.  My response is that you obviously don't have an Autistic child, and therefore are not aware of the expense that comes with the diagnosis. 

First, there is the diagnosis itself.  Most healthcare insurance companies do not cover the visits to a psychologist, each costing quite a bit.  Because health insurance doesn't cover the diagnosis, it therefore falls on the parents to fit the bill.  And if the psychologist can't pinpoint where on the spectrum the child is, that means more visits, and more added to the bill. 

Then there are costs with special schools, training, etc. that are all expensive because of the increased teacher to student ratio.  Sure, you may think it's an outrage that there are 30 children to one teacher in a typical classroom.  But imagine of each of those children were Autistic, unable to sit still, unable to look the teacher in the eye, and bursting out into rages of melt downs because of sensory overload.  You CAN'T have a high ratio of students to teachers for autistic children.  Therefore, schools cost more. 

Because the cost of schooling for autistic children are so high, often School Districts will not provide those services.  This means the children are either home-schooled or they are sent to very expensive private schools, costing tens of thousands a year.  It's like buying a new car and paying for it in cash EVERY YEAR.  And you don't get a tax credit for "cash for clunkers".  That doesn't work with education. 

Finally, there is the cost of long-term care.  Children with Autism will eventually grow up to be adults with Autism, adults with varying levels of ability based on the severity of autism on the spectrum.  As such, they need some sort of organized long-term funds to provide for them when you as the care giver has passed away.  Some States provide long term care, but how much longer if they start to cut into their services to balance their budgets?  It's a scary future out there for those who are in no position to protect themselves. 

So you can talk about the poor getting healthcare, you can talk about the historic focus of this bill that Congress is trying to pass.  But as I already have healthcare that covers my family, and as it doesn't help provide for the needs of my son at a National level, the bill does nothing for me.  It doesn't protect or provide for my son's condition, a condition that has been shown to be genetic in origin, and therefore truly medical in practice.

In short, the bill is flawed, and I have little hope of seeing any provisions added at a later date.  I'm sorry, Mr. President and all members of Congress, but you have failed my son in your efforts.  My son, and one percent of your children and grandchildren. 

That is why I can't get excited about Healthcare Reform.