Friday, October 14, 2016

Survey Response: Amy Morgan Candidate for UT House 11

Survey Response Amy Morgan Candidate for UT House 11

Candidates for the November 2016 elections were given the opportunity to answer a few questions relating to autism.  The following are Amy Morgan's responses. 

Health Insurance:  In 2014, the Utah legislature passed a law requiring some state-regulated health insurance plans to cover autism, including a limited amount of therapy for children ages 2-9.  This law went into effect in 2016 and will sunset in 2019.  Would you consider renewing it or expanding it in any way, such as increasing age or coverage limits?

Amy Morgan:   I would support renewal and sustaining of the law.  I think all insurance plans should be required to cover autism therapy. 

Medicaid:  In the past year, Medicaid has begun covering autism up to age 21 for people who meet the income requirements. What is your position on Medicaid expansion?
Amy Morgan:  I support Medicaid expansion, and think that autism should be covered to the age of 27, as is standard coverage under the ACA.
Education:  Special Education is very important to students who need it.  Utah “needs assistance” when it comes to meeting the requirements of IDEA.  What would you change about the Utah education system, both in general and special education?
 Amy Morgan:  I would support giving schools, and education, back to educators.  Educators know what they are doing, and do it well, and continual regulations and changing standards implemented by non-educators are not helping anyone, including those in the special education programs.  Students are loved and taught by amazing people.  Let them do their job, and the results will, in my opinion, always speak for themselves.

Financial Planning:  Utah passed legislation in 2015 to help disabled Utahns and their families plan for the future through ABLE accounts (similar to 529 college savings plans).  They are not yet available.   Do you support efforts to make sure that disabled Utahns can access ABLE accounts?

Amy Morgan:  100%, YES.

Police:  People with autism may have difficulty understanding and complying with police orders.  They may also be prone to meltdowns or be overwhelmed by lights and sirens.  Two examples of where this can lead are reported here and here.  Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained officers are recognized to be the most capable of responding to situations involving the mentally ill, and Utah has an excellent CIT program.  The Utah 911 board has considered adopting a system (Smart911) that, in addition to other benefits, would help ensure that CIT officers are dispatched when needed by letting citizens pre-register with 911 and sharing their information with dispatchers and officers when a call is made.  What are your thoughts on the CIT program?  Would you support the adoption of a system like Smart911?

Amy Morgan:   I would fully support a program like Smart911.  I think education is key in any situation, and CIT trained officers are educated in ways others aren't which makes them much more capable to handle extenuating circumstances.  Hats off to them and let's let them do their jobs! 

Personal experience:  The autism rate in Utah is 1 in 54.  Your family and social circle doesn’t have to be very large before it includes someone with autism.  If you want to share any personal or professional experience with autism, please do so. 

Amy Morgan:   I have thought about this often... the fact that not too long ago, autism did not have a name or a diagnosis.  Most of us had not heard of Autism or Asperger's until the '90's.  I think of all the people who were forced to live without resources and help, because there weren't any.  I appreciate, so much, the work and attention that is given autism and the autistic spectrum, and the best therapies and practices that allow those living with the challenge to have full, productive lives and contribute so fully to society.