Here in Ohio, we have worked for a long time in reforming insurance especially in concern with autism. Most states have a requirement that autism can not be excluded from insurance coverage. That is not the case in Ohio.
When Adam was only a toddler, I organized a Town Hall meeting with our elected officials including State Representatives and State senator and families with children with autism. We also arranged appointments in Columbus with our elected officials to discuss help for our families.
Recently the House of Representatives pass HB 8 addressing insurance and autism. I have not been directly involved with lobbying for many years so I was unaware of the bill until a few days prior to it going to the floor. Let me back up, I used to work for the chamber of commerce. For more than ten years I visited Columbus working with legislators and business concerns. I left when I reached burn out.
So what does this have to do with making a difference?
When I received word that HB 8 was going to the floor, I eagerly wrote several emails. Simple really. I spoke about my previously not supporting legislation that would burden business, but after experiencing the cost of raising a child with autism, I have changed my mind. As many of you know, therapy for a child with autism can reach into the hundreds of thousands. Bankrupting families.
The good news is that the bill passed in the house. The better news is the personal phone call I received from my State Representative Scott Oelslager. He called me late on Friday night. Whether or not he remembers from my chamber days (that was more than ten years ago) he was moved by my email. He also remembered the town hall meeting from years before. A republican, he was one of the few that voted for the bill.
I have sat here the past few days not sure what to think. First, thank Rep. Oelslager for supporting our families. Second, we do make a difference. I only spent a few hours on the emails. And what a difference it made.
Now it's time to work on the Senate.