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The Hardest Vote This Session

Compared to “voting against” kids with autism, voting for higher taxes is a walk in the park. And yet, that’s exactly what two principled Republicans (yes, unfortunately, only two) in the Assembly did today on AB 162.

To best explain this bill and this vote, let’s start with how the Left is talking about it and how the media is reporting on it. From KRNV News 4 in Reno:

“The Nevada Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would ease the financial burden on families affected by autism. AB162 would require insurance companies to cover treatment of autism. . . . Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, says that although the state can’t treat all children with autism, it can at least help some.”

Sheila Leslie is full of…um, poop.

The “state” didn’t do a damn thing to help children with autism other than put a gun to the heads of Nevada’s insurance companies and force THEM to do something for children with autism.

And that something isn’t going to cost the state – or even the insurance company for that matter – a thing. Instead, by mandating this coverage without providing any kind of funding for the program, the cost is going to simply be passed along to policy-holders like you and me in the form of higher monthly payments for our health insurance.

Now many of you are probably saying, “So what? I don’t pay for my health insurance; my employer does.”

Yeah? For how long? How much higher can the cost of health insurance go before employers stop providing it as a benefit (actually, many have already stopped)? And then where will you be?

What Sheila Leslie and the state Assembly just did is disgustingly dishonest and cowardly. They’re patting themselves on the back and telling everybody that they’re doing something for a very unfortunate and vulnerable segment of our community by forcing somebody else to pay the bill.

When Washington does such a thing to Nevada and other states it’s called an “unfunded mandate.” When the mob does such a thing it’s called “extortion.” And yet 12 out of 14 Republicans who know better were so afraid that the issue would be used against them in campaigns next year that they went right along with it.

Here’s how helping these children SHOULD have been handled…..

If the Legislature deemed helping these children and their families who can’t help themselves was of sufficient importance to the general welfare of the citizens of Nevada (and it is), then the citizens of Nevada collectively should have been asked to pay for this assistance rather than mandating that private insurance companies provide that assistance. And if budget constraints mean the Department of Cultural Affairs or the Consumer Affairs Division or the Civil Right Commission have to be axed to come up with the money, well, then that’s what they should have done.

This legislative habit of buying dinner and then sticking somebody else with the check has got to stop.

Casting a vote in favor of a feel-good bill for extremely vulnerable and unfortunate children was easy. Casting a vote against such a bill on very solid public policy grounds took a world of courage. What a pity that only two elected members of the Assembly showed it.

What? Who were they? Glad you asked:

Assemblyman Don Gustavson (R-Sparks) and Assembly Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley).

Remember this when the Democrats go after them next year. Give generously to their campaigns. Political courage like this needs to be rewarded, defended and applauded.