Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

May 14, 2007

A big step forward in Oregon.


One of the things we celebrated this past weekend was the passage of House Bill 2918. If made into law (needs to pass the Oregon State Senate and be signed by the Governor), basically states:

(that insurance companies) may not deny benefits to an individual who is covered under the plan because that individual has a pervasive developmental disorder

This is a giant step forward. The bill passed unanimously in the House 53-0.

Here is an article that appreared in our local paper this past weekend:

Speech therapy bill easily clears House
By David Steves
The Register-Guard
Published: Saturday, May 12, 2007

SALEM – Rep. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, literally put a face to the issue
of autism in the Oregon House of Representatives on Friday.

He did it by holding overhead an 8-by-11 photograph of his 5-year-old son.

Simon Edwards is one of the thousands of children with the
disorder in a state that has more such diagnoses per capita than any

Before the House voted 53-0 to require health insurance to
extend its coverage of speech therapy and other treatments to children
with autism, mental retardation and other developmental disabilities,
Edwards was among the legislators to speak on the bill.

"This guy, my son Simon, has autism," Edwards said while
holding up his son's picture for the other representatives and guests
in the House chamber to see.

Edwards is one of thousands of parents who could potentially
benefit from House Bill 2918 if it becomes law. The bill now goes to
the Senate for consideration.

The bill is intended to help families get medical insurance
coverage for the therapies that would benefit children with autism,
mental retardation and other "pervasive developmental disorders."

The bill does so by prohibiting insurers from denying benefits
to an enrollee who has been diagnosed with such a disorder. Edwards
said the bill was necessary because many insurance policies cover
occupational and speech therapy and other treatments for people with a
brain injury, for example, but not those with autism.

Edwards said his family had personally run into the kind of
problems the bill is meant to address. His insurance paid only for 30
minutes of speech therapy a week for Simon, which Edwards said wasn't
enough. He and his wife looked into paying out of pocket for additional
therapy sessions. "I can't remember the cost, except that we couldn't
afford it," he said.

Edwards said the bill was meant to aid thousands of families
whose children are part of a rapidly expanding population of young
people diagnosed with autism, yet are struggling to secure the kind of
response that past epidemics, such as polio, prompted from the medical
system and the government.

According to the Oregon Department of Education, among people
between the ages of 5 and 21, Lane County has 673 residents with
autism. Based on those and comparable figures for other counties, Tim
Mueller, an autism-awareness advocate, did some calculations to
conclude that Lane County's school-aged population included one person
with autism for every 91 people. That was the second highest ratio
among every county. Marion County had the highest ratio, 1-to-75, said
Mueller, who is with the Lane County chapter of the Autism Society of

I love you Chris. I am so proud of you and the work you are doing. 


  • 1.
    Meredith S. said…

    Awesome…I love that Chris is so quickly influencing government for good in his new role. Oh, and love the picture.

  • 2.
    Barack's Babe said…

    Go Chris!!! Thanks for restoring my faith.

  • 3.
    noell said…

    You’re making me tear up, Ali.

  • 4.
    elise said…

    What a victory.
    So amazing, Ali and Chris.

  • 5.
    Stefanie said…

    Families dealing with autism are lucky to have such amazing advocates. Keep up the great work!

  • 6.
    ChrissyAmport said…

    Wow. That is awesome. I’m glad a David is beating the Goliath. Someone needs to be knocking the insurance companies down a notch!

  • 7.
    Leah said…

    THAT is AWESOME! Well done, and may other states do likewise!
    And, since my cousin’s darling boy just got diagnosed on the spectrum, and lives in Oregon- really, really THANK YOU. This hits close to home.

  • 8.
    Jen said…

    That is fantastic!! I am so crying right now. I wonder who I need to contact to get something like this in Az?
    Chris you are awesome!

  • 9.
    Ingunn said…

    This is what politics is about!! I love that Chris can work for changes that are actually positive for the general public.
    Amazing photo, you are the best at capturing relationships :D

  • 10.

    We’re all proud of Chris!!! Congratulations. Way to go!!

  • 11.
    Karen said…

    Good times Ali. That little boy of yours sure knows that he is loved. Well done Chris, you are doing good work in this world.

  • 12.
    Amy Kyle-Percy said…

    Congratulations Chris! As a fellow Oregonian I am proud of you!
    GREAT pic of he & Simon!

  • 13.
    Kim said…

    That is a good thing. Won’t insurance costs skyrocket in your state though? I live in California, and I know you can get services through the school districts. Don’t they have something for speech therapy up there?

  • 14.
    Regina Ponce said…

    YAYE!!!!!!!!!! excited…!! KEEP celebrating!

  • 15.
    Joy said…

    wooooohoooo for Oregon… I love all your photos.. two years My hubby and I went to Mckenzie river and did white water rafting.. we had soooo much fun .. it was our first time.

  • 16.
    Tara said…

    Ali that is soooo awesome,,, congrats to Chris for clearly making a difference,, you deserve to be proud!

  • 17.
    iman said…

    “Sweeeeet” that is so awesome. So proud of you guys!!!!

  • 18.
    Lisa said…

    wow ali, that is awesome, what a huge accomplishment, it seems like chris is just the person we need on our side. Thanks for sharing the article and let chris know that we are all proud of him!

  • 19.
    Kaylea said…

    Amazing story. Congrats for the accomplishments.
    Awesome use of electorial power.
    Fabulous news.

  • 20.
    Laura Reaux said…

    I teared up reading this. That is so awesome. You should definitely be proud of Chris, and how cool of you to acknowledge that publicly.
    I’m so sorry to hear about the high numbers of kids with autism there in your area though.

  • 21.
    Jan said…

    Wow! That is so cool that he was able to accomplish that so quickly! Congratulations! We are so proud of all the work you have done for autism.

  • 22.
    Kim said…

    That’s awesome! Congrats!
    Great job Chris!!!

  • 23.
    Tiffany K said…

    I love that the two of you are being the change that you wish to see in the word!!!

  • 24.
    Christie said…

    Ali, I know you already have a million fans, but I’ll add my voice to the throng. I love your blog. You truly live an inspired life. Thanks for letting us in and sharing a bit of your spunk and creativity!

  • 25.
    Ann(i)e said…

    So amazing….what a wonderful man…what a wonderful father….what a wonderful advocate!!
    GO CHRIS!!!!!!!!

  • 26.
    ashlie said…

    Inspiring to see the difference one person can make for so many others.

  • 27.
    Karlynn said…

    WTG Chris!!! And you too Ali and Simon!!! You all need a BIG pat on your backs!!

  • 28.
    Brenda Eien said…

    What a man to be proud of. This is an outstanding thing! Simon is blessed to have such amazing parents and Oregon is blessed to have an amazing representative!

  • 29.
    Megan said…

    Totally amazing. I am SO excited to read that.
    Congratulations and best of luck on getting it through!

  • 30.
    Julia said…

    Great news. I live in Missouri and have a daughter who is 10 years old with Autism. She is doing GREAT because of the wonderful school district that we live in. However, that is not the case for a lot of other children. This is AWESOME.

  • 31.
    pipw said…

    Ali, Chris and Simon, we all want to change the world and make it a better place, but you guys actually do it, everyday, in so many ways, big and small. You are inspired and inspiring!

  • 32.
    Karmen said…

    That is absolutely fantastic! Keep up the great work … for Simon and all the others affected by autism!

  • 33.
    Ronda P. said…

    Tears in my eyes. Good tears. The work Chris is doing is simply amazing. And Maybe the rest of the nation will follow his example.

  • 34.
    shelley said…

    That is so great! Congratulations to Chris and to you! It feels so good doing good things! I really loved your Mother’s Day post too! Keep up the great work you two! Shelley

  • 35.
    scramperj said…

    Way to go Chris! Hope others follow your lead!

  • 36.
    Jessica Stoops said…

    Awesome news! I think it is wonderful.
    We have had trouble getting services from the school system for my son’s apraxia. However, we have been fortunate to have access to private speech and OT. These services have made such a difference.
    I am so glad that these services will be available to children with autism in Oregon. Congrats! Jess

  • 37.
    Jenn from MA said…

    So awesome! Simon is one lucky little dude. And so great that Chris can be a champion for the cause, a champion with some political clout no less. Best of luck and tell Chris to keep on truckin’!

  • 38.
    Leanne Dietlin said…

    Awesome job! I too am tearing up thinking about all of the work you guys put in to help Simon and other kids as well. Way to go! You all should be proud.

  • 39.
    Melanie said…

    This is awesome and I think the work you and Chris are doing to help kids is just incredible. Politically, I’m a conservative but this is something that I think everybody should agree on. Congrats on the success with this! It’s such an important issue!

  • 40.
    Sharon F. said…

    Way to go Chris! Congrats Ali and Simon too.
    We are pulling for you here in California – perhaps our legislators will learn a few things from their brethren up North.
    Sharon F.

  • 41.
    Wendy said…

    That is so cool!

  • 42.
    Stephanie Ainsburg said…

    SO COOL!!!!

  • 43.
    jes said…

    that is awesome! such a blessing that chris can use his position to better the world for so many people… such a blessing!

  • 44.
    donnadowney said…

    way to go chris…i am so proud of you and for you!

  • 45.
    Corey said…

    Thank you, and thank Chris for showing me there really is another side to politics….That there really are people out there for the good of other people, not just themselves. This is amazing.

  • 46.
    Erin said…

    We are ALL proud of you, Chris!

  • 47.
    emilyruth said…

    so awesome!…great job, chris!

  • 48.
    Allison said…

    wow- how refreshing. how rewarding it must be for you and chris to see the difference he is already making in such a short time of being elected office. i don’t live in oregon, and i have never met the edwards family, but i am proud beyond words and my heart is just swelling with joy.

  • 49.
    Kris with a K said…

    Hooray! Thanks, Chris, for stepping up and standing up for our kiddos!

  • 50.
    Rollie said…

    Chris, that is awesome work!
    I know you are fighting for what you believe in and you are already showing that one man can make a difference!

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