This morning, while I’m sitting at work, I’m watching tweets about the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee meeting fly by on the screen.
The IACC, for those who haven’t been following, is an inter-agency committee that manages the federal government’s response to Autism in the United States. This panel was set up under President Bush (43) as part of the Combating Autism Act of 2006, and was reauthorized under President Obama.
Bear in mind, as I’ve mentioned previously, that the reauthorization last year funded the organization for three years, and that the committee then took nine months to finally meet – they were reauthorized in October of 2011, and today is their first meeting, nearly a quarter of the way through their mandate. To me, this does not make it seem like Autism is a major priority for the current administration.
To go a step further, it definitely feels like the government, via Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, is patting itself on the back for what it has done so far. (I will admit that I’m not listening to the proceedings, since I’m at the office and getting work done around writing this post.) This has been followed by speakers who have, indeed, called the current administration’s handling of Autism into question as to whether or not this is legitimately a priority for the administration.
If you’re curious about where the administration had promised to be during their current four year mandate, Politifact.com has the grades here. It doesn’t look all that good. And, to be fair, one of these is indeed being held up by Congress, with another one that is somewhat nebulous given where the ACA stands at this time. Equally important, my own state doesn’t mandate behavioral therapies be covered by insurance, but in theory, that could be helped by a federal requirement under ACA to include such.
I will be, in the next few days, sending letters to both major-party campaigns asking what they intend to do, if elected for the next four years, regarding handling the growing Autism epidemic – I’ll be posting those letters here, and any response I get back from either.