We’re Not Alone
Missouri isn’t the only state in which activists are calling for mandatory insurance coverage of autism treatments. Read this State House Call post about recent developments in New Mexico and Wisconsin:
In New Mexico, the Republican legislator who proposed the mandate said, in the AP’s paraphrase, “the insurance mandate would help families struggling with the out-of-pocket costs of providing therapy and other services for autistic children.” Yes, it would. Of course, everyone else who buys that insurance would be paying higher rates to pay for this coverage. Someone has to pay for it, something the bill’s sponsor either doesn’t know or doesn’t acknowledge.
The bill passed the New Mexico Senate, and the the comparable mandate in Wisconsin is still under debate.
These mandates increase the price of insurance. Although the autism mandate would be more costly than most of its supporters claim, by itself it wouldn’t drive insurance premiums through the roof. But when you add it to mandates about a host of other conditions, the expense becomes a burden. This is the insurance equivalent of, for instance, a grocery store mandate that requires customers to buy cheese and vegetables along with every loaf of bread so that they have the right ingredients to make healthy sandwiches. That hypothetical mandate would obviously affect people’s grocery bills by forcing them to stock up on products that not everyone wants. Insurance mandates have the same deleterious effects, but lawmakers seem to think the cost magically disappears into the insurance pool.