Thursday, April 10, 2014

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigns

I've just heard the news that Obama's longest serving cabinet member, secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius has just tendered her resignation.

She was apparently dogged by controversies over the poor rollout of Obamacare and the lackluster website which people used to enroll in it as well as the poor implementation of this new law by the Obama administration.  

What Ms. Sebelius is less widely known for is her authority to appoint public members to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, the branch of the government that *ahem* suggests autism policy to the U.S. Government. 

Ms. Sebelius has appointed several members of the neurodiversity movement to public membership posts in the IACC.  It would seem she really does not give a shit about kids being crippled or sick.  One of the persons she appointed is a high school dropout who didn't finish the tenth grade.  Other members she's appointed have said that disability is a "social construct" and that autistic people would do just fine with the right accommodations.  Another of her appointees has likened parents who wish to cure their autistic children to members of the Ku Klux Klan. 

I can only hope that Sylvia Burwell, who has been tapped to replace her will take a more sane and rational approach to autism.  Perhaps she will no longer appoint members of the neurodiversity movement to government posts.   

I realize I shouldn't get my hopes up too high.  My understanding is that Sebelius rubber stamped all of the IACC appointees based on recommendations from NIMH head Thomas Insel.  Perhaps I should regard him as the real scoundrel and not her.  I guess I can only hope congress can be persuaded not to reauthorize the IACC when the CAA sunsets in September of 2014.  I know it's not going to happen but I can dream, can't I?


jonathan said...

@ Roger You do make good points. Though you wanted to be a public member of the IACC, even if you'd been able to do that, you most likely would not have had any power to persuade the government to do any of the things you'd want to help people like you and me. They are indeed a useless organization. Autism speaks may fund some good research in spite of their many flaws. Safe Minds and Generation Rescue are at opposite ends of the spectrum of neurodiversity. I'm glad they oppose ND but I don't see them as serving any useful function. I realize though, nothing will convince them that vaccines and mercury don't cause autism in spite of the overwhelming evidence against their positions.

Though I don't approve of Lyn Redwood being able to give input to the government, I believe she's a well-intentioned person who wants to help her son and others with autism.

The high-functioning members of ASAN and John Robison are not impaired and have no true dog in the fight. and Noah Britton is just a wingnut and a vicious hatemonger, so I don't object to her as much as I do them.

Anonymous said...

Roger & Jon, what I think I'm actually seeing is what appears to be 2 opposing sides on the same board/committee is the government using 2 sides of the 'debate' for its own ends. Notice when the CAA was authorized for the first time back in 2005 under George Bush's watch, it was tuckered under a military authorization bill, so who's to say the research being funded by the CAA had/has potential military & national security applications as well? As for the appointments of 'neurodiversity' advocates to the IACC, I couldn't say what the motivations for those appointments maybe, though I'm sensing the purpose behind having people like John Elder Robison are not altogether benign. Now though I wonder since Uncle Sam is really Corporate America's & American society's elite's bitch, to put it bluntly, IACC is yet another tool for which the US government can selectively take from what it finds most beneficial from each side of the cure vs.acceptance 'debate' by sort of supporting both sides of the same time. From the likes of Autism Speaks, the results coming from their research can be useful in helping Big Pharma & the medical companies develop new treatments & devices to alleviate, but not truly cure the symptoms of disease, disability, deformity, difference. As for having the likes of John Elder Robison & Ari Ne'eman on the IACC, those guys maybe trying to give Obama some insight on how disability can be a positive. But as history surely shows, the road to Hell is paved with all, but good intentions. John Elder Robison & Ari Ne'eman may have come along the IACC with the best of intentions. But as we all well, or should well know, Uncle Sam will more likely take the aspects of the neurodiversity it finds most beneficial to itself, quite possibly figuring out ways to exploit people on the autistic spectrum, especially the lower functioning ones, under some guise, whatever that may be.