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Oklahoma State Senate
OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties

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For Immediate Release: May 15, 2008

Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm

Senator Gumm: Peterson Shows “Lack of Understanding”
About Autism Crisis

An analysis by Rep. Ron Peterson of an actuarial study on “Nick’s Law” shows the representative’s “serious lack of understanding” about the autism crisis, according to Senator Jay Paul Gumm.

“Rep. Peterson may know his former profession – insurance – but his analysis of the actuarial study we provided to him shows he simply does not understand the autism crisis,” said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant who has fought for passage of autism insurance.

“Every autistic child is different with different needs. To suggest that every autistic child presents the same exposure to the insurance industry is flat wrong and not borne out by the experience in other states – or the experience of parents of autistic children.”

The key premise of Peterson’s news release was that the study, provided by Gumm to House leaders earlier this week, did not reflect that every autistic child would take the maximum benefit allowed under “Nick’s Law.”

Peterson’s estimate of a 5.22 percent increase in rates has not happened in any state with an autism insurance law. Further, the fiscal impact on state employees’ insurance – touted by Peterson as justification for killing “Nick’s Law” – did not reflect anything more than a 1 percent impact on claim payouts.

“I guess the question is: ‘Which is it? One percent or more than 5 percent?” Gumm asked. “The numbers from other states’ experience, as well as the numbers from Mr. Bouder’s study, have all been consistent: one percent or less impact.

“This latest release smells of desperation, and is nothing more than another attempt at confusion and delay by someone apparently determined to continue discrimination against families with autistic children.”

Peterson’s latest release comes as more criticism is heaped on the House for denying a vote on “Nick’s Law,” even from conservative quarters. Ron Black is a conservative media personality who, on his blog, lamented the fact that House leaders were unwilling to “cover the least among us.

“This is one case were ‘it’s for the children’ has meaning and my Republican brethren are living up to the stereotype of the GOP being bought and paid for by big business.”

Gumm said it is obvious support for “Nick’s Law” crosses party lines and political philosophies – the only roadblock is an intransigent House leadership.

“Time is of the essence in treating autistic children,” he concluded. “Every day we get closer to the end of this legislative session, and every day we lose more precious Oklahoma children to a disorder that is treatable. ‘Nick’s Law’ would change that, if only we could get a hearing.

“This is an issue about life, and Rep. Peterson wants to squabble over pennies.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm's Office:  (405) 521-5586

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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