OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: May 13, 2008
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Study Shows Autism
Coverage Financially Responsible
A study released today shows passage
of “Nick’s Law” would not spike insurance costs
and would ultimately save taxpayers millions.
Paul Gumm – chief sponsor of “Nick’s Law,”
a bill requiring health insurance to cover autism diagnosis and
treatment – said the study shows a negligible premium cost.
The measure would represent only a 0.47 percent premium cost, roughly
a tenth of the current rate of inflation.
Opponents of the measure – especially House Speaker Chris
Benge – have claimed “Nick’s Law” would
increase insurance costs and drive up the number of uninsured Oklahomans.
“Hogwash,” was the answer from Senator Gumm. “The
study we delivered to the Speaker today, and made available to the
media, shows the cost would be less than one-half of one percent,”
said Gumm, D-Durant.
“That translates to less than one-half penny for every dollar
in premium costs. 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.”
Benge has been adamant that the House of Representatives would
not consider legislation containing “Nick’s Law.”
He said an actuarial study, conducted over the next eight months,
would be necessary to understand the full costs before he would
even consider allowing representatives to consider the measure.
“This study, which did not take eight months, has removed
one of the biggest barriers the Speaker has placed before these
families,” said Gumm. “Now we will see whether he is
interested in a delay tactic, or whether he will give these families
a sliver of the hope they deserve in the closing days of the session.”
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.”
“The report is written so anyone can see how Mr. Bouder arrived
at his numbers,” said Gumm. “He also shows us the cost
of not passing the measure. Without insurance coverage ‘Nick’s
Law’ provides, the ultimate burden for caring for autistic
children and adults will fall to taxpayers, draining millions from
Release of the study comes as new, national pressure is being brought
to bear to encourage passage of “Nick’s Law.”
Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group for children and families
of autism, has purchased advertising that encourages Oklahomans
to call the Speaker’s office and ask that “Nick’s
Law” be given a hearing.
“It’s down to crunch time now and it’s down to
this,” Gumm said. “Either the Speaker will allow his
members to consider ‘Nick’s Law’ using a solid
actuarial study, or he will sidestep again, continue the doubletalk
and delay, all while finding a new excuse to prevent the people’s
voice from being heard in what is supposed to be ‘The People’s
“Oklahoma taxpayers and families with autistic children are
hanging in the balance, and they deserve a vote.”
PDF file of Bouder Autism Oklahoma Cost
For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm's Office: (405) 521-5586