Two State Senators are taking part in rallies, this weekend, to urge passage of legislation requiring health insurance companies to cover autism. Senator Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville) and Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) are lead sponsors of autism insurance reform and are participating to bring attention to what they see as a need to pass meaningful legislation to help Missouri families impacted by the disorder.
Senator Rupp says that while the legislation overwhelmingly cleared the Senate during the 2009 session of the General Assembly it was never given a vote in the House. He wants to put on the pressure in 2010.
“This year we said, you know what, now we’re going to engage the grassroots, we’re going to engage the people, we’ll really make this a forefront issue,” said Rupp in an interview with the Missourinet. “Last year, you know, we played nice and it didn’t get us anywhere so this year we’re going to put the pressure on via the grassroots movement. And, at the same time, you’re educating more people about it, so it’s a win-win situation.”
Rupp says that while other neurological disorders are covered, the coverage does not routinely extend to autism, with opponents arguing about the costs associated with a mandate.
“Mandates do increase costs, but as a policy directive we have to look at what is the cost benefit,” said Rupp. We’ve looked at every other state that has done this. The Department of Defense has it. There are states that have had it for years. Every study that has been done has shown that it’s less than one percent premium cost.”
The first of four rallies was held in O’Fallon, drawing about 2,000 people. The remaining three rallies are scheduled for Friday evening in St. Joseph, Saturday morning in Kansas City, and Saturday afternoon in Springfield.