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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Tea party federation opposes Speaker-backed autism bill

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation, the umbrella group of tea party organizations in the state, has come out against a bill backed by House Speaker Bill Howell that would require businesses to provide insurance coverage for children with autism.

"Autism is certainly a heartbreaking condition and the treatments are a terrible financial strain for many families,'' said Mark Kevin Lloyd, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation.

"The concern of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation with this bill is the inappropriate use of government," Lloyd said. "There is nothing stopping individual insurance companies from adding this coverage themselves as part of free market competition. Virginia, and our nation, has a history of private individuals and groups assisting those who are in unfortunate circumstances. Government is not an arm of compassion, and no matter how well intended, can never replace faith-based and private initiatives."

Howell's position, which all but ensures the bill will pass the General Assembly this year, has upset some members of his caucus, who question supporting a new mandate while opposing the health care overhaul passed last year. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that opposes the federal health care overhaul, began robocalls statewide Monday targeting Howell (R-Stafford) that will run through Wednesday's House vote.

The House tentatively approved the bill by voice vote Tuesday and will have final vote Wednesday.

"This is a misguided attempt by Speaker William Howell and a majority of his colleagues in the House of Delegates use government as a tool for compassion,'' Lloyd said. "By doing so they ignore the will of the people and, in particular, the tea party by anonymously voting in support of more big government mandates. It appears they are turning a deaf ear to citizens of the Commonwealth after the overwhelming rejection of health care mandates in the form of ObamaCare."

A similar bill sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) is pending in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where the mandate has typically been supported.

The measure would require health insurers to pay for a specialized therapy known as applied behavioral analysis, as well as occupational, speech and other therapies, for children two to six years old.

The bill would cap annual costs at $35,000 and applies to businesses that employ more than 50 people and are not self-insured. It also covers public employees.

"If passed, (the bill) does nothing to stop a full-on expansion of this coverage, as well as any other mandated coverage the state sees fit, in the near future,'' Lloyd said. "This creates a slippery slope to a nanny-state type of government, eroding away the freedom of choice and autonomy that businesses and individuals enjoy today."

By Anita Kumar  | February 2, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, State Senate, William Howell  
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Comments

This shows the character of the Tea Party very well. They are not intelligent enough to take responsibility for their positions. It is ludicrous to suppose that the magical forces of the market will make autism coverage available. As a practical matter it will not happen. But the Tea Party pathology dictates a knee-jerk response of no to every possible action of government. The Tea Party is not driven by a philosophy, but a pathology. It is not a Party, but a cult. And the families of autistic children stand to suffer to appease the cruelly simplistic Tea Party mania.

Posted by: PyotrZ | February 2, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Its really pathetic to see the Tea Party make politics out of children with Autism. It would be interesting to hear what the tea party rank and file say about the bill esp if their child has autism. Mark Loyd just like Jamie Radke was apointed to his job. When the Tea Party discovers democracy then perhaps they will also discover common sense. This bill will save tax payers money in the long run.

If you want the truth on this bill read my guest post on bearindrift.com

http://www.bearingdrift.com/2011/02/01/talley-coverage-cheaper-than-the-alternative

Posted by: LeeTalley | February 2, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Its really pathetic to see the Tea Party make politics out of children with Autism. It would be interesting to hear what the tea party rank and file say about the bill esp if their child has autism. Mark Loyd just like Jamie Radke was apointed to his job. When the Tea Party discovers democracy then perhaps they will also discover common sense. This bill will save tax payers money in the long run.

If you want the truth on this bill read my guest post on bearingdrift.com

http://www.bearingdrift.com/2011/02/01/talley-coverage-cheaper-than-the-alternative

Posted by: LeeTalley | February 2, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

What an odd form of Christianity that has taken hold in America.

You've got Family Research Council helping the Florida judge write his ruling to oppose health care for people.

Religious fundamentalists getting angry at the thought of the poor getting health coverage.

The Christian right furious at the idea insurance companies being forced to cover people with pre-existing conditions and not kicking them off of coverage.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 2, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"Government is not an arm of compassion, and no matter how well intended, can never replace faith-based and private initiatives." Quoted from above.

Mr. Lloyd...an initiative??? You do know the PUBLIC GOVERNMENT FUNDED SCHOOLS (tax payers) are in the medical field right now responsible for treating ASD and are the "healers" at the moment right?? Which makes alot of sense, right??? (sarcasm) Hmmmmm... also where's your compassionate Church Mr. Lloyd?????? Didn't know the Churches were in the medical field too like the schools. Where IS the Tea Party's private compassionate investment to treat and cure my son's Autism?????? I could use $40,000 for treatment this year alone. Can you write me a check?

Educate yourself Mr. Lloyd, please. It's getting tiresome dealing with your group's one track mind. You and the Tea Partiers are drinking something else other than tea.

Posted by: cookiewm | February 2, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

It's time to stamp out stupidity in Virginia. Let's start here where we know their names and where to find them. As irritating as their diatribes are, perhaps the longer they are allowed to talk, the more clearly Virginians will see that a party formed on the basis of being "against" everything doesn't have much to offer. It's the "Party of No" taken to its farthest extreme. Virginia is better than this. I am ELATED that the Autism Insurance Reform Bill passed today!

Posted by: csread | February 2, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

A better approach to assisting to defray the costs of specialty education would be to allow families to take the allotted amount of money that their child would receive for public education and use it to pay for a private speacialty school. This is a common sense solution that is not emotionally driven.

Posted by: shortsturge | February 3, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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