Special Needs Living: Autism, Vaccines, and the New Health Care Law

hypodermic needle
Flickr photo by stevendepolo
Today's guest blogger is Katie Olson
(aurorabunny), mom to 3-year old Brody, who has autism.

Every week, Katie shares the ongoing struggles and triumphs that often come with parenting a child with special needs. Today, she talks about her fears that the new health care legislation might not be the best thing for children with disabilities.

The new health care law is a very hot topic at the moment and just about everyone has been making their opinions known in one way or another (the Facebook fights have been particularly entertaining). But one thing I haven't heard much talk about is how the law will affect those with special needs -- particularly children and adults on the autism spectrum.


It's hard for me to state as many cold hard facts as I'd like to with regard to President Obama's health care plan since it hasn't been made available to read in its entirety, but from what I've heard I find myself having mixed feelings.

On one hand, I want to celebrate for those individuals with autism who may no longer find  their claims being denied due to a "pre-existing condition," and rejoice for children all over the country who might now be allowed access to therapies that they desperately need. On the other, I find myself feeling the way I did as a teenager when my favorite bands came to town and played 21 and over shows: Something really cool is happening, but I don't get to go.

The reason I'm conflicted? I've read some things that have listed "being current on all vaccinations" as a provision of being accepted into government-run health care. If this turns out to be true, my family will automatically be excluded. We're lucky enough to have private insurance, but with the proposed changes, I worry that we might not be able to afford the predicted rising premiums.

Beyond my own family, what about those who aren't lucky enough to have any insurance and will have to choose between going without or injecting their children with substances that they might not be comfortable with? That leaves a majorly sour taste in my mouth. 

I understand that in return for receiving free health care, one might need to play by some rules. But if the "vaccines necessary" provision does turn out to be true, I can't say that I won't be more than a little upset to see perfectly healthy people who have chosen not to inject themselves or their families with dangerous chemicals turned away.

While I am in every way behind "Health care for all," I'm worried that statement might turn out to be a half truth and leave many of our children -- disabled and otherwise -- in a worse situation than they were in.

Are you worried about how the new health care bill will affect your child with special needs?

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