A Social Todo about the “Medical To-Do”

relief of Maia, Asclepias, Hermes & Vesta In John Gregory's U.S. News and World Report noted Obama’s plan for autism. Not so interesting as the plan has been sitting out there for months first on change.gov, and now has been transferred over to whitehouse.gov. Most of you have probably read it. But–

What is interesting is the discrepancy between how this plan is portrayed by U.S. News as being on the “medical to-do list” with the medical aspects emphasized and how this plan is portrayed on the actual government site. The autism plan does not appear under the Health Care Agenda, nor is there a medical agenda listed. The president’s autism plan is a sub-category of his Disabilities plan.

This is a subtle but critical difference. The Disabilities Agenda is a social to-do list not a medical one. It’s about equal access and human rights. Is the placement of the autism plan into the same category as other disabilities, rather than into a medical category, an indication of autism’s relevance to social, not a medical, issues? And what does the discrepancy say about the bias of the U.S. News reporter?

(As a side note, I do agree with U.S. news in calling early screening for everyone “a tall order,” if only because the diagnostic process (and diagnostic criteria) remains subjective.)