Autism Speaks Responds to Detroit News Editorial

DETROIT (April 6, 2012) -- The Detroit News today published "Snyder should sign autism bill," an editorial rebuttal from Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks' vice president for state government affairs.

April 5, 2012
Letter: Snyder should sign autism bill
By THE DETROIT NEWS

The News' April 2 editorial ("Snyder should veto costly legislation") urging Governor Snyder to veto autism insurance reform swallows hook, line and sinker the same discredited arguments the insurance lobby failed to sell in Lansing or any of the 29 other state capitals that preceded Michigan in enacting these laws. The usual undocumented "estimates" are trotted out, warning of astronomical cost increases should the insurance industry's discrimination against families raising children with autism be outlawed.

Fortunately, plenty of reality-based evidence can be found of the true cost impact of autism insurance. The Missouri Department of Insurance examined its autism insurance law after one year and found it covered 1.3 million residents, while impacting premiums by 0.1 percent — a fraction of what the insurance lobby had predicted. Indiana for the last 11 years has had a law on the books offering far more generous benefits than proposed in Michigan. Residents, last we heard, have not been fleeing.

Autism Speaks revisited fiscal projections that had been prepared by legislative analysts in other states and found they overestimated the impact by 293 to 1,261 percent. Vermont's fiscal analysts just discovered their predicted $10 million impact was off by $9.5 million.

Yes, Michigan is at a competitive disadvantage with other states. But now it has the opportunity to transform from "one of the 10 worst states to raise a child with autism" to one of the best, a factor many talented professionals will consider when deciding where to raise their child with autism. Sign the bill, Governor Snyder.

Lorri Unumb, president, state government affairs, Autism Speaks, Lexington, S.C.