Michigan Becomes 30th State to Embrace Autism Mandates

Later in April, the 3 bills passed by the Michigan legislature will go to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature. It is expected that he will sign, being a strong advocate for helping Michigan families struggling with the expensive costs of helping children with autism.

As a former Michigan resident I can attest to the lack of BCBAs. We were fortunate to have lived in an area of the state that had choices and our family was able to secure a good one. It will be many years before Michigan is prepared to serve the needs of the 15,000 or so autistic children who will benefit from this mandate. But, passage of the bills is a great start to a long road ahead.

We, personally, are on the fence in regard to government-imposed mandates. Many of the states have passed legislation, but the logistical efforts required to properly execute the program may prove little help top those states autistic population (in lieu of pointing fingers specifically, I’ll just leave it that not all state mandates are equal). As parents to autistic children who have paid tens of thousands out of pocket for the services that will now be subsidized by insurance companies, I can appreciate the effort. However, there is a side that must ask the question: Is it right and fair for the government to require an insurance organization to cover a disorder that may perhaps cost more than premiums can offset and still generate profit? As a supporter of less governmental interference and letting free enterprise work its magic in the marketplace, there is a side that questions if it is indeed the right thing to require insurance companies to accept this burden. The schools point and say it is a healthcare related issue. The insurance companies point and say it is an educational disorder. Either way, someone is going to pay somewhere in the system. Ultimately, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the ones ultimately responsible for their autistic child’s care and development is the parents. Parents should use any and all legal means within the confines of the system (and maybe perhaps out of the system sometimes, lol) in order to secure the best care possible for their child. And that many times costs money, a complete life change, an expensive personal education and sometimes painful periods in life.

I am eager to hear what you think about mandates, insurance coverage for autism and the parent’s role in the responsibility of leading the education and development of their child?

In advocacy,

Mike