“Ryan’s Law” Expansion: Growing Obamacare In SC

PALMETTO STATE TAXPAYERS CAN’T AFFORD THIS … || By FITSNEWS || In South Carolina, one of the quickest ways to generate sympathy and support among impressionable lawmakers on behalf of government expansions is to christen the bills in question after children.  Especially children who are A) dead, or B) suffering from…


|| By FITSNEWS || In South Carolina, one of the quickest ways to generate sympathy and support among impressionable lawmakers on behalf of government expansions is to christen the bills in question after children.  Especially children who are A) dead, or B) suffering from a disorder.

Such is the case with “Ryan’s Law,” a 2007 autism bill which mandated state insurance companies provide up to $50,000 a year of coverage for behavioral therapy for children under the age of sixteen.

This mandate was correctly vetoed by former S.C. governor Mark Sanford (back when he used to be a principled taxpayer advocate) – but Sanford’s veto was unanimously overridden by both the House and Senate.

Now, liberal State Senator Ray Cleary – one of the biggest tax-and-spenders in the S.C. General Assembly – is proposing amendments to Ryan’s Law which would usher in a major expansion of Barack Obama‘s socialized medicine law in South Carolina.  And cost Palmetto State taxpayers “untold millions” of dollars.

Does that sound like something our dirt poor population can afford?  Especially given the rampant socialized medicine growth our state’s “Republican” leaders are imposing?

Hell no …

Cleary’s proposal wipes out existing eligibility requirements for Ryan’s Law, opening the door to a flood of new applicants – and new costs.  And yes, because this would be a “new benefit” enacted after 2011, Obamacare requires the state to defray every penny of the new mandates for those who sign up for coverage on the federal “exchanges.”

(Even though these exchanges may or may not be legal in the first place).

How big a tab are we talking about here?  At least $5 million a year, according to one industry expert we spoke with – although they acknowledged this was a “conservative” estimate.

The truth is they don’t know how expensive it’s going to be … on taxpayers or South Carolina insurance customers.

“It is an unknown, open-ended, recurring obligation exposing taxpayers to untold millions in fiscal liability,” the source explained.

Again … absent any attempt to seek possible matching federal funds first.

“We’re leaving millions of federal dollars on the table,” one lobbyist familiar with the plan told FITS.  “This is a new mandated benefit for policies purchased on the federal health care exchange – paid for 100 percent by the state.”

Lorri Shealy Unumb – the Ryan’s law architect who is pushing the current expansion – acknowledges there will be a cost to the state.  Of course she claims the fiscal impact will be much smaller – roughly $530,000.

Where’s she pulling those numbers from?  We’re not sure … but we’re guessing it’s someplace that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.

Anyway, State Senators voted in favor of the bill last month – overwhelmingly – but they did so without a proper accounting of the cost.

Unumb, of interest, is the vice president at the Autism Academy of South Carolina – which charges between $1,800 – $4,500 a month per child to provide behavioral therapy for children between the ages of two and twenty-one.  Of course those are the academy’s “private pay rates.”  Insured clients pay bigger tabs (because they are “covered”), and by forcing an expansion of the insured population it will increase the percentage of clients paying the higher rates.

Medicaid recipients?  Please … they don’t take those kids because the reimbursement rates are too low.

Ah, “non-profits.”

Oh, and speaking of … Unumb draws a $125,000-a-year salary from this particular entity, which is more than three times the state’s median household income last time we checked.

Look … we get it.

Kids with autism aren’t easy for a lot of parents to deal with – and finding a place for them to spend the majority of their waking hours is a costly proposition.  But is that really sufficient justification for passing a multi-million dollar tab onto already overburdened South Carolina taxpayers?

We think not …


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nitrat May 5, 2015 at 7:45 am

THIS is what the state can’t afford and $12 Million is way more than $ 530,000 or $ 5 Million and it’s corrupt, just like it is in any state that has fallen for this welfare for rich scam :

“…1,300 children have received private school tuition grants from Palmetto Kids since the state launched the choice program in 2014.

During that period, the nonprofit has raised $12 million. Donors to Palmetto Kids qualified for 86 percent of the tax credits lawmakers have approved.”

Read more here:

FastEddy23 May 5, 2015 at 8:20 am

BummerCare is DOOMED.

SC poli-wogs should bail on support of anything that might be construed as pumping up this bad deal.

Alias The Buzzman May 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

It’s the law. Based on a totally Republican plan implimented by a Republican governor, after being developed by a conservative think tank. Sheeesh!!! It’s far from perfect, but will never be repealed. Face facts. Fix what’s wrong with it, and move on.

fc May 5, 2015 at 9:57 am

Your entire post is false (as usual) however you are right about ‘repeal’-until 2017.

What will happen in June however is SCOTUS will rule on ‘exchanges’ and Obamacare will no longer exist.

Try and keep up.

Mom May 5, 2015 at 4:22 pm

As a parent of a child with a very mild learning disability, I was approached by a private school about the Palmetto Kids scholarship. After finding that NO ONE knew anything about it, I decided not to be a part of this bamboozle.
I feel sorry for parents whose Autistic kids need expensive ABA therapy. However, with every new baby, parents take a chance that he/she won’t be perfect and may require therapy, eyeglasses, a seeing eye dog, special tutors, lifetime care and more.

GrandTango May 5, 2015 at 8:21 am

FITS problem is that he calls “liberal” all that he hates.

When you supported Tom Ervin and Thomas Ravenel…don’t be surprised if the discerning reader finds you not only a bit disingenuous, but also Full-of-S#!t…

Liars and greedy, self-serving A-holes are the problem in politics. And the Democrat party, is filled w/ them. Yet FITS almost only finds fault w/ Republicans…

When you have no credibility – and are a joke – except among the minority party of radical Democrats in SC…this may be why…

A Blind Squirrel's Nuts May 5, 2015 at 8:37 am

Can’t believe it, GrandTango is right for once, about Thomas Ravenel at least. He supported Mark Sanford and Nikki Haley too. Those three have real issues.

TroubleBaby May 5, 2015 at 9:02 am

“Those three have real issues.”

They are all half brothers/sisters, spawns of the god Narcissus.

Alias The Buzzman May 5, 2015 at 9:52 am

Ain’t that the damned truth!

fc May 5, 2015 at 8:21 am

Obamacare has failed.Even those enrolled on the expanded Medicaid cant find a doctor.Grocery stores and pharmacies are opening up clinics and staffing them with a nurse.
No more money for these well intentioned programs until Obamacare is taken apart by SCOTUS.

Failure May 5, 2015 at 8:35 am

I’m afraid you’re the only one who has failed. It is still the law. Hahahahaha!

Rocky May 5, 2015 at 9:05 am

My mother-in-law found coverage through Obamacare, and has no issues finding doctors. None at all. So once again, you repeat the lie long enough, maybe it’s true. But it’s not, it’s still a lie.

fc May 5, 2015 at 9:54 am

No lie Rocky.Shortage of doctors.Didn’t read my ‘links’ yesterday? You are the liar.I just present the facts.90% of newly insured are on Medicaid.No doctors.

Mother in-law on Obamacare? LMAO!!! With age of your children she is not on Medicare?You really can’t keep all your stories straight,can you?

Daniel Boome May 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

Oh sure, just like the people in Canada can find ‘coverage’ and a ‘doctor’. However, if you want to talk about aggregate coverage, quality doctors, and quality care it’s an absolute joke. Having anecdotes here and there doesn’t change the fact that the coverage and quality are going to continually diminish over time due to the nature of the law.

fc May 5, 2015 at 10:03 am

In Ohio Kasich expanded Medicaid (a mistake) and you have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding a primary care giver…CVS,Kroger etc are opening ‘clinics’,staffed by a nurse to see patients…a NURSE and many of the ‘insurance’ providers under Medicaid are not being accepted.

Political Autism May 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

Autism only matters when it helps push private school vouchers.

Alias The Buzzman May 5, 2015 at 9:50 am

Right. But it does matter, whether a kid is in a private or public school.

Matthew Wood May 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

My name is Matthew Wood, and I am the Clinical Director of the Autism Academy of South Carolina. You need to check your facts. Lorri Unumb does not work here, and she does not draw a salary from here. She serves on our board, which is a completely unpaid position.

You Know My Name May 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

For years now, I have observed what utter bullshit most of these laws named after someone, usually someone’s dead kid, are. It is commonly an attempt to place the issue on an emotional level and it usually works. The sheeple always fall for it and heap their fawning support upon the cause, no matter how damaging to personal liberty or finance it might be.

Kat73717 May 5, 2015 at 10:55 am

So it’s ok to write an article with out doing fact checking, and using figures from unverified resources now? Where are you pulling your information from…”somewhere that doesn’t see a lot of sunshine”? Not only are those estimates invalid, but Lorri doesn’t even work for the Autism Academy, she works for Autism Speaks, which is a national advocacy group. She does not pull a salary from the Autism Academy, which is a non-profit provider, in South Carolina. None of her salary from Autism Speaks is being paid from the Autism Academy of SC. AASC was founded by Lorri as a resource for children (like her son, Ryan, to receive much needed therapy).
And the practice of cost-shifting (which is what you described in your article), is a very common practice that takes place in every realm of healthcare (from private practices to non-profit hospitals). It allows for those who are un/under-insured to receive services at a rate that does not burden the “dirt poor population”. Or are you saying that those “dirt poor” children don’t deserve the same services as those who have private pay insurance?
For someone calling for more fact checking, you sure did not show your research in this biased article. I wonder who is paying your salary?

Caryn Crabb Kirk May 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

Unumb got her statistics from the SC State Employee Health Plan, unlike this “reporter” who cites an unnamed “industry expert” and a lobbyist. Furthermore, this act has absolutely nothing to do with the Affordable Health Care Act, socialism, or the like. The arguments in this article rely on numerous logical fallacies – if this act is a bad idea for SC, this “reporter” failed to support his position with any reliable information or logic.

Stephanie Smith May 5, 2015 at 11:21 am

This article is obviously a product of poor research and journalism (term VERY loosely used). I fail to understand how an article like this is even published. Applying such political rhetoric to strike fear of this bill in the hearts of those opposed to “Obamacare” just by mention of the name is poor practice and simply a low blow. Furthermore, the parents of autistic children (myself included) are not looking for state-funded child care through this bill, which is what is implied in this rubbish article, but ways to help their children become productive members of society as adults, lessening the strains on future public assistance.

Mary Barfield May 5, 2015 at 11:49 am

Dear Fitnews,
I am extremely disappointed by your blog about the expansion of the Ryan’s Law Amendment which will provide insurance coverage for autism-related services for children in the state of South Carolina. First, because I have a five-year-old daughter with autism spectrum disorder, I feel your blog is a direct attack on my daughter and my family. My daughter was diagnosed as mild on the spectrum. However, we still paid over $11,000 out of our own hard-working pockets for her ABA therapy because our BCBS SC individual insurance does not cover autism-related services, even though we already pay over between $17-20,000 in health insurance premiums and deductibles. By the way, ABA is scientifically-proven to treat the negative behaviors associated with autism and help these children grow into the most independent and self-sufficient adults that they can be. My child is showing SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT from these services. However, we need help from this. It is simply not right that we pay premiums and deductibles to cover our children’s medical needs, yet it will not cover these needs.
I want to be very CLEAR about this. I am NOT asking my insurance company or any insurance company to pay for a babysitter for my “autistic child.” I am asking for my insurance company to provide my child with the services she needs to grow her into a more independent child. This is what every parent of a child of autism wants and that is what the ultimate goal is!!!
Also, what ever happened to responsible journalism? Maybe, it is tucked away in a closet or with all of the “unnamed insurance lobbyists” who gave you false information because most of what you reported is not based on factual evidence. I was there at the SC Senate meetings. I have seen the information proposed by Lorri Unumb and Autism Speaks. All of this information comes from actual data from Unumb and Autism Speaks obtained from insurance companies and even other states that have already passed this type of autism-related insurance legislation. Her data and figures were accurate and convincing enough that it did indeed convince the SC Senate that is was cost-effective enough for our great state.
Unumb does not work for the Autism Academy. Also, another clarification note about insurance reimbursement to providers…The providers do not make more money from insurance clients. Insurance companies set up contracts for services where the insurance companies will only pay an allowable amount for each service. The provider can charge $100 for the service, but if insurance says the allowable amount is $50, then this is the only amount that can be billed for that service at all. Therefore, the providers cannot inflate their service fees to the subscribers/clients.
Now, I will happily end my supportive for the South Carolina Autism Community. However, before I conclude, it is very apparent to me that the writer of this blog is extremely unfamiliar with autism spectrum disorder and in fact, probably does not know a single person on the spectrum. What a pity for you? Some of greatest minds came from the autism community..Einstein, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. Keep in mind that while many with autism do not thrive in the social arena, many go on to be great scientists. Thus, the next time you or your loved on becomes ill, keep in mind that the drug or treatment given to you or them may have been created by someone you are lobbying against.
Also, maybe you should also call the South Carolina Autism Society and ask to volunteer at the home of an autistic child. I’d like for you to see first hand what that mother or father does to help that child communicate or learn to deal with the world around them that seems strange and unusual to them. In fact, maybe you should offer to interact one-on-one. However, I doubt it because we wouldn’t want to overburden you now, would we?

Mom May 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

And where did Einstein, Mozart and Beethoven receive expensive ABA therapy?

You Know My Name May 6, 2015 at 10:24 am


Susan Kastner May 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm

I read this post with bemusement at the various inaccuracies (Ms. Unumb is NOT a staff member of the Autism Academy of SC… find both staff & Board member lists at I didn’t get really bothered until the end. The statement “Kids with autism aren’t easy for a lot of parents to deal with – and finding a place for them to spend the majority of their waking hours is a costly proposition” infuriated me. Most parents — including me — aren’t looking for “child care.” We seek access to medical-based, scientifically-proven treatments that will help our child, so that we can enjoy a fuller family life through the skills our children learn from the therapies. “Autism parents” routinely stress to other parents considering behavior therapy treatment for their child that it requires a commitment of time and participation by the FAMILY for success.
Yes, there probably are a FEW parents of children with ASD that may simply want “child care.” The same can be said of the general population… there are parents that don’t want to take the time to truly teach and train their children. Society, through gov’t and private programs, generally strives to help the children to compensate for lack of parental involvement.

AM Green May 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Shame on the writer for this inaccurate, inflammatory, and insensitive column.


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