Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Hard Decision

Today I personally made one of the most difficult votes that I have had to make all session. I voted against HB1315, An Act to Provide Health Insurance Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The bill would mandate insurance companies cover Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Here are the main reasons why I voted against the bill:

  • 1) It’s another government mandate. There are already around 40 different mandates in Arkansas that increase premiums by around 5% to 15%. This is not the only mandate the Arkansas Legislature is considering this session. SB66 requires insurance to cover diagnosis and treatment of morbid obesity.
  • 2) It will add around $30 to private insurance policies per year. While this may not be a lot, it does put an even greater burden on families already stretched to the limit in these economic conditions. As stated in point one, mandates add to the cost of insurance. For the Arkansan spending $800 a month ($9,600/yr) on insurance, you are paying at least $40 a month ($480/yr) due to mandates.
  • 3) Our schools already receive over $100 million in federal funding under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This act includes children with Autism.
  • 4) I believe in the people of Arkansas and believe that there are other solutions that will help solve this issue without the government having to mandate coverage.
A couple of possible solutions:

  • Non-profit Autism/Disabilities organizations work thru the communities and schools to help those in need.
  • Insurance companies offering riders that cover certain disabilities and offer the rider to everyone so that people can choose to help rather than force.
We need to work to make our healthcare system better. My philosophy is less government. Let the people, medical, and insurance companies come up with free market solutions.

Today I did not vote against Autism. I voted against more government, and higher premiums.

If you have any questions about this or any other vote, please feel free to contact me. My email address is

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