Monday, April 11, 2011

Election 2011: Medicare for Autism Now! for Autism and Medicare Coverage

If you are concerned about autism treatment and services in Canada I recommend the Medicare for Autism Now! site as your first information gathering stop about autism and medicare. During this election MFAN is the best site to find  information about autism and medicare in Canada. The MFAN site  provides important information about how to advocate for medicare coverage of autism during Election 2011.   

The major media and experts in Canada have done little beyond telling Canadians that we don't really want an election, that for some bizarre reasons unknown to me Canadians are concerned about a coalition government or whatever trick the Harper Party is using to occupy an easily distracted mainstream media.  What the media doesn't often mention, if at all, are the social issues that make Canadian society a decent place in which to live including our national medicare system which Stephen Harper has long opposed.  With a minority government Harper could only play defense, refusing to address serious national health issues like ... autism.  If Stephen Harper wins a majority government look for our national healthcare system to be dismantled.   The increasingly Harper Blue  CBC has commented on the issue of health care on its web site in a dismissive, superficial manner, but has provided no serious analysis and does not acknowledge the Harper Party contempt for a strong federal healthcare system.

Canada's national autism crisis has grown under the Harper government with a postponed, then rigged, sham national autism symposium and little in the way of real autism awareness.  If your only source of information about autism spectrum disorders was the Harper government you would be seriously ignorant about the realities of autism disorders, the lives restricted by autism or even the fact that Canadians with autistic children who  can choose move to provinces where some autism services are available.  New Brunswick, thanks to a strong parent advocacy movement and some conscientious political leadership from both the Conservative government of Bernard Lord and the Liberal government of Shawn Graham, has a better early autism intervention service than most Canadian provinces.  For that reason some military families with autistic children have requested postings to CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick. Autism is very much a national issue in Canada and the "see no autism, hear no autism, speak no autism" policy of the Harper government can't change that autism reality.

Given the lack of serious media attention  to health care and other social issues during #elxn41 the internet, blogs, Facebook, twitter and other social media are the major source  of discussion of medicare and specific health issues like autism.  This blog will attempt to provide some information and commentary to help.  The best site to follow autism and medicare issues though will be the revamped Medicare for Autism Now! site. 

1 comment:

AutisticWisdom said...

Harold, I have said it once and I'll say it again, guaranteeing ABA treatment in the Canada Health Act will not bring about the changes we want. Provincial governments are able to impose waitlists and exclusions on lots of other treatments supposedly covered under the CHA. Need surgery? You can have it but you need to wait 2 years. Want your eyes checked in Ontario? You can, but it costs $50 and the government won't help you out unless you have diabetes. In Ontario, ABA treatment is available to children but the waiting lists are two to three years. Putting "ABA treatment" in the CHA will not change a thing because Ontario is already meeting this requirement. So would Alberta, BC, and New Brunswick. Federal money will just fund existing provincial programs and not create new ones. If we want real change, we need the federal government to transfer money directly to individuals with autism; that is the only way we'll ever see it.

Some people who oppose putting ABA in the CHA also mention that is is discriminatory. It is, to a point. What about a child who has apraxia of speech but not autism and needs intensive speech therapy? Too bad, you're not getting it unless you're rich.

We do not have a universal health care system. That is an illusion. We have a health care system designed to prevent people from dying, and that is about as far as it goes. Quality of life and disability care are not truly addressed, and with health care ending up more and more dollars every year from budgets, we are likely to see more exclusions from provincial plans, not less.