Parents in California are really getting shafted in the treatment of their autistic kids. Lisa Girion of the LA Times writes how insurers are refusing to cover behavioral therapy for their children. Initially, I was a little less sympathetic about this controversy because the article predominantly highlights such phrases as "patient advocates", "Consumer Watchdog", and "threatened to sue". As a layperson reading the piece you may not understand the bias of those groups. The problem is that evidence behind behavioral therapy is scant which makes this topic somewhat controversial in itself. There is only so much money in the healthcare system to go around as it is and in the future we need to be damn sure what we are paying for is effective. That being said, I would rather that money be spent on autistic kids than on the houses of the CEOs of the managed care companies. What bothered me the most about this issue is the strategy Kaiser Permanente is using. They changed their rationale for denying the coverage by claiming "the therapy is not covered because it is educational and not medical". This is scary and if Kaiser wins this battle it could be the tip of the iceberg of things to come. Isn't diabetic education, well, education as well? Why should insurers have to pay for kids to learn how to use insulin syringes?