Friday, October 14, 2016

Survey Response: Bruce Cutler Candidate for UT House 44

Survey Response:  Bruce Cutler Candidate for UT House 44

Candidates for the November 2016 elections were given the opportunity to answer a few questions relating to autism.  The following are Bruce Cutler'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?
Bruce Cutler:  Yes - I would be happy to work with Senator Shiozawa to see what needs to be done in this area.
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?
Bruce Cutler:  Yes - I would like us to move forward with Medicaid expansion based on the Governor's Healthy Utah plan features. We will need cooperation from Washington in order to make this happen. So far, they have not been cooperative. Whether or not we can tailor a program that fits the desires of the citizens on Utah will depend on who wins the White House and takes over the ACA, or does away with it.
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?
Bruce Cutler:  This is such a broad subject that all I'm going to say here is that we need to provide a fair and equitable education to all students, regardless of need. I will do all that I can to support all students.
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?
Bruce Cutler:  I will need more information on this particular subject. What was the bill # that we passed? Why is it not yet available? Is it a funding issue or something else? Why is it different than a 529 plan?  (More information has been provided and as soon as he provides more in-depth response on this topic we will update the responses).
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?
Bruce:  Cutler:  Looks like a great program !  Yes, I'd like to know more about it.  The more we can do proactively in this regard the better.  When an emergency arrives it is usually too late to provide this information because of the stress of the emergency.  Our police and EMts need to be trained to help those with Autism and other physical and mental challenges.  Thanks for providing this link.
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. 
Bruce Cutler:  I recognize the needs of individuals with unique and challenging life situations. We are not all handed the same set of capabilities and challenges. Helping those who need our help is a Christian principle which I fully support.