Shortly after Del. Bob Marshall declared that disabled children are god’s punishment for abortion, the House of Delegates defeated a bill that would have required insurance companies to cover the treatment of children with autism. Think about this. In less than a week’s time we have one Republican delegate declaring disable children to be God’s punishment and others caving into the insurance companies when it comes to potentially providing children treatment that could greatly improve their lives.
It’s also important to note that this bill, SB 464, wasn’t going to drive insurance companies out of business (or even cut into their enormous profits too much). What the bill would have done is require insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autistic children between the ages of two and six years old. Studies have shown that this treatment would allow nearly 50% of children with autism to function successfully in the classroom with about another 40% improving their ability to function.
The bill was going to provide so much benefit to the community at such a relatively little cost to insurance companies that it had already passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Apparently the Republican members of the House Commerce and Labor Committee were so against taking this small step toward progress, however, that the bill was defeated in committee on a voice vote. That is such a shame and upon learning that the bill didn’t pass in the House, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Howell, made her disappointment known.
“This bill was a small step, but an important step in providing desperately needed services,” said Sen. Howell. “This was a very limited bill crafted specifically to minimize impact on insurance premiums. I am very disappointed that so many children and families are going to have to wait another year for the treatment they need and deserve.”
“This bill would have provided therapies to help these children have a successful life, in addition to reducing long-term costs to the state,” said Senator Howell. “I simply cannot understand why the House of Delegates would choose special interests over the best interests of children.”