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Schwarzenegger Administration Sued for Allowing Health Insurance Companies to Deny Autism Care
Date:7/1/2009

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"Californians, including those stricken by autism, and their parents and caregivers, expect regulators to enforce the law, not to side with insurance companies seeking to boost their profits by denying patients the care they need," said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of the non-profit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog and author of the landmark insurance reform initiative Proposition 103. "Governor Schwarzenegger, a longtime and vocal supporter of the Special Olympics and developmentally disabled children, will now have to explain in court why his administration is allowing health insurers to evade state mental health laws and shift health care costs to already beleaguered taxpayers."

Governor Schwarzenegger, who appointed the current Director of the DMHC, has received $711,200 in campaign contributions from Blue Cross, Kaiser and Blue Shield -- three health insurers regulated by the DMHC that commonly deny coverage for autism treatments.

The DMHC's actions upholding heath insurance denials for medically necessary autism treatment puts children at risk by forcing parents to seek treatment through over-stretched taxpayer-funded programs, or to forgo treatment altogether.

"HMOs and health insurers are denying autistic children the most effective medical treatment that is available, with severe consequences for them, their families, and the state's taxpayers," said Fredric D. Woocher, lead counsel in the suit. "Insurance companies are blatantly violating California law. Yet the Department of Managed Health Care is not only standing by and doing nothing to prevent these violations; it is actually supporting the insurers as they abandon autistic children and their families."

Insurer's New Tactic in the Battle to Avoid Paying for Autism

ABA is a form of behavioral therapy that has been scientifically proven to improve brain function in autistic children. For years, insurance companies r
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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