I was very happy to read that Lorri Unumb of Autism Speaks succinctly stated that insurance reform will reduce the lifetime costs of autism at a recent hearing in Michigan. Readers of this blog (including Ms. Unumb) know that I have been critical of some of Autism Speaks’ past messaging regarding insurance reform. In Michigan, she was loud and clear. In addressing the rising autism rates in Michigan, she said:
Looking at this curve, there is a huge autism tsunami that is about to hit Michigan. And it’s going to cost an extraordinary amount of money in special education, adult care, institutionalization, if this current generation of kids doesn’t get the treatment that it needs. Without private insurance playing its part, that treatment simply is not going to happen.
According to Michigan Radio, Ms. Unumb went on to say that the cost to Michigan policyholders for covered autism treatment would be 83 cents per month. ”I haven’t met a single person in Michigan who isn’t willing to pay an extra 83 cents per month so that all of these kids can get the treatment they need,” she said.
It would be great to see more quotes like this one which can be the basis for an effective PR campaign. Explain the costs and benefits of autism treatments. Then explain the costs of withholding them and non-interested parties will begin to listen.