Saturday, February 14, 2015

Senate passes autism insurance coverage bill. (Video of debate)

The Senate passed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover ABA therapy* for children suffering from autism and related disorders. It is the only effective method for treating autism.  The Senate passed the bill on a 39-6 vote although a small group of conservative senators put up a fight on the floor.  The Clarion-Ledger reported:

Senate Bill 2581 won the vote by 39-6. It requires health insurance policies to offer coverage for autism treatment like Applied Behavior Analysis for children ages 2-8. It also regulates the practice of ABA therapy and requires providers obtain state licenses.

Some, though, argued the state shouldn't tell private insurers what to cover and questioned why autism should get special recognition. Led by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, opponents took turns grilling the bill's main sponsor for roughly a half hour.

They asked why the state shouldn't also mandate health insurers cover obesity, diabetes and Attention Deficit Disorder. They asked why not let the free market decide for itself what to cover. And they likened the measure to Obamacare.

"This is totally getting out of hand," said state Sen. Rita Parks, R-Corinth, who introduced the bill on the floor, after a round of such questions.

McDaniel said he cares about children with autism and agreed the state should do something, but said SB 2581 takes the wrong approach.

State Sen. Will Longwitz, R-Madison, wasn't buying it.

"I would ask you today if we're going to have an ideological battle," he said, "let's not do it at the expense of children with autism."

Joining McDaniel in voting against the measure were Republican Sens. Eugene Clarke, R-Hollandale, Angela Hill, R-Picayune, Tony Smith, R-Poplarville, Melanie Sojourner, R-Natchez, and Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula.  Copy of bill.

Senator McDaniel sent out this email to his supporters yesterday that somehow managed to leave out the word "autism":

 The lines have been clearly drawn.

This week in the Mississippi Legislature, my conservative colleagues and I fought for you. We fought for your children. We fought for your freedom.

Senate leadership attempted to pull a bait and switch on Common Core. Late last year Lt. Governor Tate Reeves played politics with the issue by trying to convince the public that he had changed his mind and that he no longer supported Common Core. But, he and his allies this week brought to the floor a bill that will not end Common Core in Mississippi. Instead, it forms a powerless advisory committee to the Board of Education.

Conservative Senators attempted to amend the bill with language that would immediately put parents and teachers in charge of education standards, but the Lt. Governor worked to successfully kill the amendment.

Will Lt. Governor Reeves and those voting for this watered down legislation now try to convince the voting public that they worked to stop Common Core?

Will we let them?

Common Core is a federal takeover of education. It’s as simple as that. Parents and teachers should control what their children are taught, not an overbearing, faceless bureaucracy. Conservatives believe in limiting the government, not giving it more power over our lives.

Unfortunately, Common Core was not the only rejection of liberty we saw this week in Mississippi. The senate also passed a bill requiring insurance companies to expand their health care coverage models. They did this despite the fact that 70% of the insured in Mississippi already have access to this coverage.

Why do these elected officials think they can manage a free market that is already doing the job? Why do they believe they should place mandates on companies when the market is already responding without the heavy hand of government interference?

I can’t stress it enough. We need you now more than ever.

We need good conservative candidates that will engage voters at every level of government and help us fight against the political machinery that puts bureaucrats livelihoods above the rights of working families. We need candidates that recognize the government has no place injecting itself into the business of Mississippi companies with regulations that purport to correct a problem that the market is already responding to.

There are more such attempts on the horizon. We will fight these at every turn. However, we need reinforcements if we hope to stave off this continued attack on freedom. We need to challenge the status quo across the board in statewide races, legislative races and local races.

Those who wish to run for office in the upcoming elections have until February 27th to qualify. We encourage any conservative who is thinking about running to do so. Our UCF Team will begin looking closely at candidates next month to determine who we will support and what resources we can provide.

If you are committed or know of a candidate that will join us in this fight, tell them about UCF today. Join us as a monthly contributing member and help us build the resources to battle against those who play politics with your liberty.

If I accomplish nothing else in my time in office, I hope that I am successful in helping light a fire for liberty in Mississippi that will burn long after I am gone.

I believe strongly that we can make it happen, together.

In Liberty,

Chris McDaniel

Kingfish note:  Senator McDaniel is correct in that the government should not tell insurance companies or other businesses what goods or services to sell. However, its hard to feel  sorry for the insurance companies on this issue when they jumped in bed with Obamacare and sold their souls on a list of mandated coverages.   Blue Cross apparently did not cover this therapy until recently.  Senator McDaniel can argue about the free market all day long but the truth is Blue Cross has enjoyed a near-monopoly position in Mississippi for quite some time.  There has been no free market for health insurance in Mississippi and these people know it.  He understands these principles as he probably took antitrust in law school.  The services Blue Cross giveth Blue Cross can also taketh away.   ABA therapy typically runs $20,000 or more per year.

*The Center for Austism states on its website:

Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.  < a href="">Explanation of ABA therapy.


Anonymous said...

Great news! I'm glad MS is (likely) getting behind such a necessary measure. McDaniel does not surprise me one bit. Just like Lindsay Lohan, his crazy antics will seal his fate as an irrelevant has-been.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing too. Cause no kid ever ever ever ever got autism from MMR vaccine or other shots.

Woohoo. Now the parents can treat them!

Anonymous said...

Blue Cross didn't willingly cover autism. They fought it until just last year, when they could see that nearly 40 other states mandated it.
McDaniel, Sojourner, Hill, Watson and the rest of them ought to be ashamed of their grandstanding. If any of them had a child with autism they would never say what they said.

Anonymous said...

Melanie Sojourner used to be a nice person but now she takes her marching orders from McDaniel. She's like his drone.

Professor Narcissus H. Wifflebottom said...

As a Nineteenth Century economist, I toast and applaud the wise and temperate musings of Barrister Chris McDaniel on the floor of the legislative-body. How indeed could we, the members of the responsible, upstanding citizenry expect the “government” to intercede in private economical-matters just because a spindly lot of autistic brats need “help” getting “access” to their “therapy-services”? Let those rapscallions help themselves in the almshouses, wot wot! And if the parents of these waifs can’t maintain them, then they should give them up. What’s the next scene in this soon-unfolding farce-play? Shall I envision some fangled state-sanctioned “insurance-commissioner” who might yet “regulate” the entire insurance-providing sector? Ha! Or, mayhap, a “utility-regulator” for pity’s sake, to lecture and control the private-concern over what rate the power-generators can charge to make their living from the greedy customer?? Nay, nay. That is not the future this gentlechap wants. Rather, we must heed clever fellows like Barrister McDaniel. He will save us from the wage-laws if it’s the last thing he does . . .

I say huzzahs to Barrister McDaniel. With his steady hand at the helm, the Twentieth Century will be a bright one indeed!

Anonymous said...

Bravo 9:54 pm!
You nailed it!
I fear we must point out to the Tea Party posters that the 20th century is the 1900s.
We can't rely upon them to know that.
We can rely upon their political points of view originating prior to 1899.

More Government NOW said...

Ahh, yes. And the next thing we know, our government will be paying for sex-change treatments for the incarcerated, chemicals for deflated erections (limited to males on welfare) and processes through which the 'almost born' are sure to maintain that status.

Anonymous said...

This train wreck really shows the McDanielites' true colors. McDaniel, Sojourner, Watson and Hill attack anyone and anything if it gets them attention. They grandstand then raise $ from the easily duped. They only do damage and harm. It's time for them to go.

Anonymous said...

8:36 is right. I have a good friend with an autistic child, so I am happy for them. However, at what point do we stop forcing HI carriers to cover things that they will likely cause them to lose money? Health insurance is already very expensive. Do we cover autism but not other heartbreaking matters? Or does it all come down to which cause can organize the best PR campaign.

Anonymous said...

"They asked why the state shouldn't also mandate health insurers cover obesity, diabetes and Attention Deficit Disorder."

It would take a special kind of stupid to believe this, a kind of stupid so special that I am sure it does not exist. I am convinced McDaniels is deliberately and knowingly LYING.

Take diabetes, since he brings it up as something that he thinks is not covered by insurance companies (and that they shouldn't be mandated to cover it).
In 25 years of practice in four states I have NEVER had an insurance company decline to cover needed medications for diabetes. NEVER.

He is lying. Or psychotic. Maybe both.

The Bill Was Tainted said...

What about obesity and ADD, 8:24? The point was well made that we should not craft laws that are selective in their audience and particular in their application. How can you possibly believe otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Prof. Wifflebottom, please start a blog.

Anonymous said...

8:36 - so fun to compare children with autism to old guys who can't get it up.

I hope you're enjoying being evil, because I doubt anyone else is getting much out of it.

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