I sent this letter to the Governor this morning. I hope my fellow Virginians will follow suit. If you want to write the governor you can do so on his website at . Feel free to cut and paste my text if you’re not great at writing letters. The most important thing is that we let Governor McDonnell know how important this is to the future of Virginia.

Governor McDonnell,

I hope this note finds you well. I write today to request your support in signing some autism insurance reform legislation that will be headed to your desk. The bills, HB2467 and SB1062, are being reconciled in the General Assembly and will be presented to you for signature shortly.

I’ve been one of your harsher critics. Not for your business policies, many of which I agree with, or your ABC privatization attempts. I have been critical of your commitment to our disabled population. However, I have noticed recently that you have decided to continue moving toward community based services. This decision alone compels me to believe you have given some serious thought to your prior stance and seen the cost effectiveness as well as the high level of support available within the community.

This autism reform bill is another step to self reliance for the autism community. By giving these kids greater access to early intervention we increase their chances of becoming functional adults. These therapies work, and the kids who use them are more likely to enter society as employees and workers instead of welfare recipients.

There is also the real and long term cost of autism. Autism is estimated to cost society $3.2 million over the course of a lifetime. By changing the game early in a child’s life and helping them become productive citizens, we can lower that number significantly. In fact, many folks on the spectrum are taxpaying adults that receive no state assistance.

I know insurance companies don’t want to pay for this therapy. Like any business, their concern is for the bottom line. However, as a former insurance agent, I can assure you that they should cover this. Autism is a medical condition and is diagnosed by doctors. The treatments go beyond the scope of what any school should be expected to provide, and if we make this an educational issue we will tax our already underfunded school systems. As the overseer of intrastate commerce, it is our duty as a commonwealth to make sure people get what they pay for when they buy insurance. These kids deserve coverage, and we should make sure they get it. Please sign the bill as presented.

Thank you,

Ray Nelson

Thanks in advance to everyone who takes the time to write the Governor, and thanks to the Governor and his staff for reading all these emails. If you want more information on these issues, take a gander at the Virginia Autism Project’s web page. They have been working toward this for years.


Follow up: Governor McDonnell did, in fact, sign the bill. However, only after proffering several amendments, one of which was stricken down. The others stood, and the resulting licensing fracas caused the implementation to be delayed by at least a year. Please voice your displeasure at the polls any time you see McDonnell on the ballot by voting for anyone but him.