Well, Republicans have taken over the Oklahoma Senate. Honestly, I wouldn't care one way or the other, they're all people, regardless of political affiliation. However, I know that the Republicans last year fought against Nick's Law, which would require health insurance companies to pay for autism treatments. The argument by house republicans was that it was a mandate that would 'raise premiums', which would then be passed on to the average joe, approximately one dollar a month to cover, oh, about $4000 in monthly therapy for children. Seems like a good investment, especially considering that once these children turn eighteen years of age, that monthly price will be passed on to the taxpayers in terms of state government assistance, to the tune of millions of dollars (and I've blogged that before...)
Recent analysis has shown, in the past eight years, the average health insurance premium has risen by 30 percent. Considering that in our area, most families are paying monthly over $1000 dollars currently just for premiums (and deductibles have risen as well), $1 is by far less than 30% (oh, like 0.001% for those who can't do math). So our premiums have gone up, for little good, 30% and no one sees a problem with this, and yet, one mandate requiring that insurance companies DO THEIR JOB AND PAY FOR THERAPY to the tune of less than 1000th of the premium, and that's an issue.
And why are insurance companies lobbying against mandates such as Nick's Law? Because it will cut out of their multi BILLION dollar PROFIT. Not net income, but profit. And trust me, their lobbyists are at the capital every day of session, smiling and shaking hands because they are paid to be. We parents show up and do what we can, but we aren't perfectly coiffed, we don't have fancy suits, and the lawmakers that work for us consider us as lesser people. We have children that we care for, ones that often don't get into daycare because of their special needs, no one will take them. Ones that have therapy, that we pay for out of pocket, in the middle of the day while these lobbyists are working against us.
And what do insurance companies have to say for themselves? I quote my very own insurance representative (and his supervisor, who repeated it all to me)
"Autism is a mental illness, and we're not required to pay for that" (uh, no, research shows that it's a neurobiological disorder)
"We can't cover every child who's parents decide that they are autistic" (um, what about the ones who have a drs note?)
"We don't pay for therapy because there are government programs that pay for that"
Oh, that one is my favorite! Because I would like the new Rupublicans of Oklahoma, and the old ones to, to look closely at this and their self-stated goals of fiscal responsibility. Because it seems to me that these lobbyists, from whom you accept donations (the man who worked largely against Nick's Law received $30,000 from insurance lobbyists) are passing the buck to your constituents. That's not very fiscally responsible....tsk tsk. How about you guys look at requiring insurance companies to pay their bills, instead of passing it off to us?