Autism legislation in Virginia

Under the headline “Autism legislation advances in Virginia” in the Washington Post Fredrick Kunkle and Anita Kumar reported about the slow-but-significant progress that parents in the US state of Virginia have made in advancing toward mandating coverage of treatment for Autism by insurance companies. That the advances run counter to many conservative US legislators’ opposition to health policies that mandate coverage for those in need of services and that it is occuring in an election year in Virginia, a state that usually tilts toward the conservative, makes the analysis especially intriguing.

In the beginning, several Northern Virginia families whose children have autism thought that their wrenching stories would be enough to get some help from their representatives in the General Assembly.

At town halls and rallies, through blogs and e-mails, the families conveyed the difficulty of coping with a mysterious ailment and the staggering cost of its treatment, as they pleaded with lawmakers to impose mandates for insurance coverage.

But when that didn’t work, the families took a new tack. They focused on the facts. They drilled lawmakers with detailed cost-benefit analyses to the state. They sometimes made explicit their threat of political action at the polls,

Whether the legislation will make it through the commonwealth’s deliberative bodies and then be enacted by the executive remains to be seen, but the process provides hints for people in other areas who wish to learn from the tactics parents employed in Virginia. Link for the full version of Mr. Kunkle’s and Ms. Kumar’s informative Autism legislation advances in Virginia article.

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