On the Road: Week 5
Lorri and her team at the Greater Charlotte Walk Now for Autism Speaks
I write from Seat 2B today, on the Delta plane that should be taking me to Indianapolis. One of the downsides to life on the road is that sometimes best-laid plan are foiled by mechanical difficulties. Today I should be off to meet with Rep. Woody Burton of Indiana (One of the original sponsors of autism insurance reform – a dozen years ago!) and a big group of stakeholders from the state. I looked forward to spending the day with autism families and ABA providers, talking through the successes and problems they’re experiencing with their autism insurance law. I looked forward to putting faces with names I’ve known for years. But today is not my day; I can’t get from Columbia, South Carolina to Indianapolis, Indiana before the meeting is over. Sigh.
Delta did get me to our nation’s capital for a few days this week. The Autism Speaks North Carolina lobbying team and I spent some time meeting with D.C.-based political consultants on strategies to ensure passage of autism insurance reform in North Carolina next year. We’re ramping up our efforts in North Carolina and several other states in an effort to bring some relief to families in the states that have not yet passed autism insurance reform.
As of now, 34 states plus the District of Columbia require insurance coverage for autism treatments, in at least in some markets. We’re working hard on the other 16 states and relief can’t come fast enough to families struggling to afford treatment in those states.
Our North Carolina lobbyists also helped me this week in our ongoing effort to educate the lawyers-of-tomorrow. Former N.C. State Senator Patrick Ballantine and former U.S. Senatorial Chief of Staff Jimmy Broughton both proudly represent Autism Speaks and they spent some time this week sharing legislative tips and strategies with the “Autism and the Law” class at GW Law School.
Finally, I got to attend my local “Walk Now for Autism Speaks” this week with my husband and children and the staff from my son’s ABA center – the Autism Academy of South Carolina. It was a great day!