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Posted on Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

Autism health insurance bills should be expanded to include all mental health disorders

By Letters to the Editor

Michigan Senate Bills 414 and 415, which will improve private insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders, will only be helping a small sector of residents. A broader mental health parity law will finally end health care discrimination against all mental health disorders. Expanding these bills to cover all mental health disorders will benefit a very large portion of Michigan residents.

Health care providers treat many, many individuals for physical complaints who are suffering primarily from untreated mental health disorders -- and often in expensive emergency rooms. The extreme stigma associated with mental health problems continues to persist in our state/country, and the lack of adequate insurance coverage for appropriate treatment further disenfranchises these individuals. Many, many citizens of every age suffer from either a treatable brain disorder or substance abuse disorder, and most of them cannot afford to get better. These illnesses affect individual lives but also entire families as well as employers.

Almost everyone in Michigan is negatively touched by the lack of health care coverage of mental illnesses, either personally or by association. The only way to effectively help our residents is by enacting a mental health parity law in Michigan for all disorders. I encourage everyone to work to support the broadening of the coverage of the autism package.

Anita Clos



Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

So, instead of supporting help for children with organic damage you're willing to hold hostage help for them by dragging in all manner of damaged individuals many of them damaged by their own actions?


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

Apples and Oranges argument. Mental Health conditions already have coverage. Medicine and counseling are insurance covered treatments. Autism only has one proven treatment, ABA therapy, which is not covered (until now.) This isn't about parity. This is about one condition being completely uncovered.

Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson

Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

More on mental health parity: The safe harbor for outpatient benefits,


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

But the Lt Gov's child doesn't have a mental condition, so why would the republicans pass another health care mandate on top of the autism mandate that they passed? No surprise that this mandate passed since his child has that disease. I actually think it should be covered and that mental health parity should be achieved, and that Obamacare should be upheld so that 30 million people can get health care, pre-existing conditions are banned, etc. but in Michigan, we only have mandates if republican family members need coverage.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

mom4justice, you will get nowhere with this one....his way or the highway...oh wait, only Republicans are suppose to have tunnel vision, my bad.


Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 4:13 a.m.

Yes and snap, crackle, and pop are real people making the rice crispies cereal make noise. Self interest of republicans created the mandate and prevents other coverages for millions of other needy families.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Why the down votes?? Because you don't have your "facts" straight. Before making accusations about someone else's motives, you should be careful and some actual research first. As someone who was involved, from day 1, in the effort to get these bills passed, I can tell you from firsthand experience (not rumors or assumptions) that Rep. Brian Calley was a supporter of this legislation before his daughter was diagnosed with autism! The Lt. Gov. was a State Representative before becoming Lt. Gov. I, and others involved in this effort, knew him and met with him many times over the past several years. He was a supporter and even voted for this legislation when it passed the House (though, it was never voted on in the Senate during that session) in June of 2009 - BEFORE his daughter was diagnosed. Believe it or not, sometimes our elected officials do actually pass legislation (the legislator who championed the bills in 2009/10 had no connection to autism) because it is the right thing to do and not because they will personally gain from it. Yes, the Lt. Gov. does have a child with autism and, yes, he did champion the issue this session. However, to claim he only did it because his daughter has autism is simply incorrect. Your "fact" is not fact.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Why the down votes --- what I said is 100% true. If you doubt it, look it up. Facts are facts. Republicans are supposedly against health care mandates, right? However, in Michigan, the autism health care mandate passed with huge republican support with lobbying by the Lt. Governor who made no bones that he supported it because his child has the disease. So, it's ok to remove same sex partners and their children from public health plans completely but add a mandate for everyone else to pay for because of his child. Get it? It's a fact. So, why the down votes ?


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

This is about using insurance someone already pays for/has for autism treatment. Many insurance policies will cover therapy associated with depression but not autism. I think many people have worked very hard to push for this, the letter writer needs to find another coattail to ride on.

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

If you really want to be fair you will support the end to discriminating against all of the people that don't have health insurance and/or pay higher prices out of pocket than all of the people getting health care paid for, by the tax payer because they knew someone on the fire, police, teacher or government workers union and were able to get one of those so called "public servant" jobs. I think the first line of public servants are the "tax payers", so they should at least be entitled to the same coverage as the people that are receiving the greatest benefit of the taxpayer dues.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Hey I know a police officer, let me call him and get a job with insurance!