Special Education

Sharron Angle on ‘Autism’

By Christina A. Samuels — September 23, 2010 1 min read
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Here’s a bit of news that is lighting up my Twitter feed: During a rally last year, Republican Sharron Angle of Nevada, who is running for a Senate seat, discusses her opposition to insurance coverage mandates.

Her quote: “Take off the mandates for coverage in the state of Nevada and all over the United States. You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one...is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under autism. So that’s a mandate you have to pay for.”

Angle adds “air quotes” to the term autism. She also suggests that as a person who is not having any more children, she shouldn’t have to pay for maternity coverage.

Angle is referring to Nevada AB162 (pdf), a bill that passed in 2009 and requires insurance policies to offer a coverage option for screening and treatment of autism. The law goes into effect in 2011.

The Democrats released the video, saying that Angle “openly mocks coverage for autism.” Others (like some commenters to the first news story about the video ) are taking it further, saying that Angle is actually slamming people with autism, not just insurance mandates.

I’ll let readers wrestle with the political implications in the comments. But I’ll just note that, the worth of mandates aside, Angle is not correct that other disabilities are sneaking in through this bill under the guise of autism. The law, as passed, defines autism clearly.

(For the curious, the group Autism Speaks has compiled a map of the state of insurance mandates for autism nationwide.)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.