Friday, January 8, 2016

Clinton Proposes Autism Initiative

It’s hard to remember that there’s a serious presidential campaign going on out there, but news like this can remind you that there are a few nuggets of real policy proposals among the turds.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Hillary Clinton released details of a new proposal Tuesday to increase early screening, treatment and funding for autism research, and focus greater attention on services for the estimated more than 3 million people with some form of the disability.

The proposal is one of several in recent weeks — including a plan to dramatically increase funding for Alzheimer’s research — that have been focused on health issues. Like Alzheimer’s disease, autism can be a costly, complex diagnosis that affects families struggling to provide care and navigate insurance, social services and other systems.

Autism, which has large and sometimes competing advocacy groups, is increasingly also a political issue, as advocates ask candidates to address controversies over the cause and prevalence of autism and its practical consequences in education, social services and the workplace. Some people contend that there is a link between autism and childhood vaccinations, but that possibility has been thoroughly debunked by scientific research.

“It’s so hard,” Clinton said of the “emotional, physical, and financial burden” of caring for those with Alzheimer’s or autism. “I want to help families do the work they are already doing, but is so difficult.”

“A  lot of those families are just at their wits end trying to figure out how to get services how to get the insurance companies to pay for those services,” she said of those dealing with autism.

Ideas like this remind me that despite all the rhetoric and scare tactics from the right wing about scary Muslims and immigrant hordes, there are real everyday issues that we deal with regardless of party affiliation or political belief.

And the cynic in me wonders just how Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would attack Ms. Clinton for taking such a stand.  Believe me, they’ll manage.