OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: October 22, 2008
Senator Jay Paul Gumm
Senator Gumm Says More States Are Requiring Autism Coverage;
Vows Continued Fight for ‘Nick’s Law’
With more states across the nation considering and
passing legislation requiring insurance companies to cover treatment
for autism, Sen. Jay
Paul Gumm is vowing a renewed effort next session to pass similar
legislation in Oklahoma.
Gumm is the author of “Nick’s Law,” the bill that
would have required health insurance companies to cover diagnosis
and treatment of autism. The measure received strong support in
the State Senate by both Republicans and Democrats, but was stopped
by House Republicans.
“Current practices in our state are discriminatory and nothing
short of a travesty. As a growing number of states address this
tragic health care need, I believe it will become more difficult
for Republican House leaders in Oklahoma to argue that it simply
can’t be done,” Gumm said.
The Democrat senator from Durant pointed to the passage of mandatory
coverage in the state of South Carolina. The legislation was drafted
and lobbied by Lorri and Dan Unumb, parents of 7-year-old Ryan Unumb
who has been diagnosed with autism.
“The Unumb’s efforts are gaining national media attention—and
South Carolina isn’t the only state to step up to the plate.
Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Florida, Indiana and Arizona have
all passed legislation to require insurance companies cover autism,”
Other states, including Virginia, are also considering similar autism
legislation. Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) placed
the issue at the top of its priorities for the 2009 session of the
Wayne Rohde of Edmond, Oklahoma, is the father of 10-year-old Nick,
the child who inspired the legislation known as “Nick’s
Law.” Rohde said he was encouraged to see other states succeed
in passing similar measures.
“It is just another example of what we need to do in Oklahoma
to address the epidemic of autism...as more and more states pass
legislation similar to what we proposed with Nick’s Law, it
will give us momentum,” Rohde said. Hopefully the legislature
will step up and do the right thing.”
For more information
Senator Gumm's Office: (405) 521-5586