Tuesday, October 21, 2008
What costs a lot of money, has little evidence proving its benefits, and would be one of the first things that has to go if a universal health plan is put in place? The answer: behavioral therapy for autism. Until that time, however, autism advocates are pushing hard to get other states to follow Indiana's lead by requiring health insurers to cover this intensive and costly treatment. The group called Autism Speaks is endorsing bills all over the country to get insurance companies to pay what could cost upwards of $50,000 a year per child. Lawmakers, sans balls, are afraid of looking bad by not supporting these bills. Who wants to say no to children? I sure wouldn't and as a family doctor, I try to get my patients with autism all the help that I can. This is fraught with problems, however. Autism is not easily diagnosed. There is no blood test for it. In fact, it is a spectrum of problems with some kids showing very little symptoms. The costly therapy, even mentioned in the article, has scant evidence showing any benefit. By forcing insurance companies to pay for this treatment via state laws only increases the cost of health insurance. They just pass the cost on to the other customers. If we go to a socialized healthcare system, then the government pays the cost and it just gets passed on to the rest of us as well. The bottom line is that someone has to pay for this questionable therapy for a medical problem that isn't so easy to diagnose. At $50K per kid per year, there is no way we as a country could afford it. Welcome to reality.
Posted by Authentic Medicine Blog at 5:10 AM