OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: January 7, 2009
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
House Speaker Continues Effort to Justify
Allegiance to Insurance Profits
Bouder Study Results Confirmed by Experience in Other
House leaders fired yet another shot today in a
full-out Republican legislative assault on efforts to end insurance
discrimination against children with autism.
The seven-page study, including a two-page letter,
suggests “Nick’s Law” would drive up insurance
costs in the state of Oklahoma by almost 20 percent.
“I wouldn’t want to question the veracity
of their actuary, but the increase suggested in the study has
not been experienced in any state that has ended insurance discrimination
against autistic children,” said Senator
Jay Paul Gumm, chief legislative sponsor of Nick’s Law.
“I guess it is fair to say I trust their actuary about as
much as they trusted ours.”
Gumm, a Democrat from Durant, said the news release
accompanying the study contains at least one factual inaccuracy
relating to Texas’ law ending insurance discrimination against
“It is totally misleading to suggest that
Aetna has increased ‘policy holder costs’ by $379
per month,” he said. “They are trying to make it sound
like premium costs went up that much. What they should have said
is that is the amount of claims paid out on behalf of families
benefiting from Texas’ version of Nick’s Law.”
“The question for House leaders is: ‘Why
are they making such misleading statements?’”
In May, supporters of “Nick’s Law”
released a comprehensive study by Jim Bouder (sent with this news
release as a PDF file), an autism advocate who has provided such
studies to many states. That study indicated the measure would
create only a 0.47 percent premium cost, roughly a tenth of the
current rate of inflation.
“That translates to less than one-half penny
for every dollar in premium costs – a number consistent
with a cost provided to House leaders last year by the Oklahoma
State Employees and Education Group Insurance Board,” he
said. “Certainly, such a negligible cost would not drive
up the number of uninsured Oklahomans while providing needed benefits
to families struggling to care for their autistic children.”
The 10-page study was prepared by James N. Bouder,
MPA, who has prepared similar studies for a number of states.
Both his methodology and the results he produced have been accepted
as sound by analysts in several states, including Louisiana, Pennsylvania
and Florida. Gumm called the study “unimpeachable.”
Gumm criticized the Speaker for continuing an effort
begun last May by House Republicans to question Bouder’s
credibility because he has an autistic child.
“They never miss a chance to note that Mr.
Bouder has a child with autism, trying to suggest that in some
way calls into question his motivations,” Gumm said.
“The fact they continually miss is that his
numbers have been confirmed by real world experience in states
that ended insurance discrimination against autistic children.
Despite their best efforts, Mr. Bouder’s numbers are sound,
his credibility is intact.”
The lawmaker said he was encouraged by a promise
by House Republicans to unveil a plan to help autistic children
over the next few weeks.
“I look forward to seeing their package to
deal with the autism epidemic; anything is better than the House
Republican leadership’s pathetic record on this issue up
to now,” he said. “However, absent some kind of private
insurance component, anything they propose likely will fall short
and leave thousands of Oklahoma’s children behind and put
cost solely taxpayers.”
“I just wish they would choose to be heroes
for Oklahoma’s children.”