Governor Paterson Vetoes Autism Insurance Reform Bill
Autism Advocate Brad Gerstman Outraged and Calling For Action
New York, NY
Today Governor Paterson vetoed Bill S7000B, a ground-breaking new bill that would have provided families of autistic children with much-needed insurance coverage. Families, advocates and stakeholders across the state of New York are saddened and outraged over this decision, and well-known Autism advocate Brad Gerstman is speaking out and calling for action.
“It is absolutely unfathomable to think that the governor would turn his back on families suffering from developmental disabilities at this time, or any time,” says Gerstman, co-founder of Gotham Government Relations. “It is well documented that these families are forced to spend an average of nearly $50,000 per household to pay for the medical expenses needed. In many cases, these expenditures lead to financial ruin for these families. The Governor’s estimates of cost are plan wrong as it simply shifts the costs back on to the already burdened families.”
Bill S7000B would have amended the insurance and public health law for coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Bill requires policies to provide coverage to individuals diagnosed with ASD for their entire life span.
“If there were medically proven therapies for Cancer, Diabetes, AIDS, and the like, would insurance cover it?” David Schwartz asks, fellow co-founder of Gotham Government Relations. “ Of course it should, so why is the Governor putting his foot down on Autism?”
Governor Paterson is citing fiscal issues as the reason for the veto, despite the fact that this legislation passed UNANIMOUSLY in the Senate and Assembly in June 2010. Twenty-three other states have passed similar laws.
“This bill passed in both Houses with tremendous support. Additionally, all the states around the country that have introduced this bill, have quickly passed it with the signature of their Governor,” Gerstman says. “This outrageous act by our Governor is unthinkable and ironic, considering that he suffers from a disability himself….however it doesn’t make it any more justifiable.”
Gerstman urges the legislature to come back this year, for this singular issue, and show the people of New York their desire to provide medical insurance equality to those suffering from developmental disabilities. He asks that they override the Governor’s veto and join the 23 other states in making this law.
ABOUT BRAD GERSTMAN
Brad Gerstman is a well-known advocate for individuals with disabilities and special needs. He is a member of the Nassau University Medical Center, Vice Chair of the Long Island Medical Foundation, Governor’s appointee to his Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence, and Chairman of the Tom Suozzi Long Island Autism Coalition. He was recently honored by the Child Abuse Prevention Services. Brad also represents a number of special needs schools, charities, and other developmental disabilty entities through his work at Gotham.
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Annie Scranton, Pace Public Relations
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