May 18, 2022

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Readers respond: Don’t cut health care for autism

Letters to the editor

Oregon is on a course to strip necessary health care services for people with autism. As a family raising a 4-year old boy with autism, we urge our state to take action immediately to ensure that people with autism are protected. Over the past few decades, all 50 states have made tremendous progress toward ensuring that people with autism have access to the health care they need, such as applied behavioral analysis, occupational therapy and speech therapy. These services are scientifically proven to help those with autism integrate into society and live fulfilling lives. Senate Bill 355 and Senate Bill 358 would extend the requirement that insurers cover such services. If the Legislature does not pass these bills, Oregon will become the only state without this requirement, leaving no protection for people with autism.

There is no cure for autism, and its causes are largely unknown. It can strike anyone. And when it does, the financial, emotional and practical burdens on them and the families who must care for them can be extreme. The very essence of health insurance is to cover these kinds of catastrophic and unforeseeable setbacks. It would be no different than suddenly suffering a paralyzing injury or confronting the early onset of a debilitating mental illness. Oregon has been at the forefront in ensuring that all Oregonians have access to the health care they need to live fully. The Legislature must act immediately.

Kyle Grant, Sherwood