An Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates

imageDear Presidential Hopefuls,

We are in the home stretch of the presidential election and all I can say is thank god cause I’m sick to death of hearing about all of you.

You all have your good points and bad points, just like everyone else. And you all boast that you are the key to fixing Americas problems.

But are you sure about that?

I think it’s easy to stand at a podium, wave your hands around and spew words. You have researchers on your teams that tell you what words to say to captivate the members of your party. But I think when the time comes and you’re sitting in your palatial Oval Office and it’s time to get shit done, you may realize that it’s not as easy as you claimed it would be. #foodforthought

There is an issue that is close to my heart that none of your predecessors have solved. And that is a Federal Autism Insurance Mandate.

I wrote a letter to President Obama a couple of years ago, detailing my issues with this. I received an email back several months later, with all kinds of links to things the president had done for the autism community. Which is wonderful, however my issue was not acknowledged.

My husband works for the federal government. Essentially, you and the office you’re vying for. Because of this, we have federal health insurance. It’s excellent insurance for the most part. However there is one little glitch.

It doesn’t cover ABA therapy.

In case you’re unaware, ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis and it’s the most common used treatment for children with autism. I have witnessed its power with my own eyes and I can tell you first hand, that it works.

I have three children with autism. My oldest two were lucky enough to receive ABA therapy when they were diagnosed in 2007 and 2008. I truly believe that they are the successes they are today largely in part to them receiving this therapy. They were able to get it because we lived in a state that provided resources to children with disabilities and because my husband was active duty military at the time.

Fast forward to now, where my youngest son has moderate – severe autism and has been unable to receive ABA therapy. Reason being that a) we now live in a state that doesn’t have the same resources and b) our insurance doesn’t cover the therapy. The therapy costs roughly $100-$150 an hour and unfortunately, we cannot afford that. So he has had to go without.

I’ve asked my insurance company why they don’t cover said therapy and their response is that it’s because they don’t have to. Since there isn’t a federal law mandating that all insurance companies cover ABA therapy, they can opt not to cover it.

Can you see that this is bullshit?

If I was a single mom on welfare, food stamps and Medicaid, my child would be able to have this therapy at no cost, no questions asked. But as a married mother of three who pays her taxes and insurance premiums, he’s denied the therapy that will help him grow and thrive. Does this make any sense to you?

I’m not saying single parents on Medicaid shouldn’t have access to things like this, as they definitely should. But how is it ok for them but not for us? I’m not asking for a handout, I’m just asking that the insurance I pay for cover what my son so desperately needs.

My son is an amazing little guy. He’s pretty much always got a smile on his face and loves to be tickled. He’s got beautiful eyes, when he lets you see them and a beautiful soul. He is five years old, but developmentally he’s a baby. And if he could have ABA therapy, it would change his world for the better.

My family isn’t the only one in this predicament. There are hundreds of thousands of federal employees with special needs children in the same boat. And something needs to change.

I’m calling on you, the candidates for the President of the United States, to open your eyes to this issue. All I’m asking is that you pass a Federal Autism Insurance Mandate so that children like my son can receive the therapy that they need to succeed.

If it helps, imagine if it were your child. Your grandchild. You would want them to have whatever access necessary to provide them with the best care, right? And imagine that you didn’t have your money or celebrity to use as collateral. What would you do?

Thank you for your time and I sincerely hope you take this information to heart and do what’s right.

Sincerely,

Momma on the Edge

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