Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Champions Insurance Coverage for Stuttering Treatment in Pennsylvania

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, once the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, is making significant strides off the court by advocating for expanded insurance coverage for speech therapy for children who stutter. Recently, Kidd-Gilchrist played a crucial role in the unanimous approval of legislation by Pennsylvania’s House Insurance Committee. This legislation, crafted by state Representative Brandon J. Markosek and supported by Kidd-Gilchrist, aims to make speech therapy more accessible to children across the state.

“As someone who stutters, I still use the tools that I learned through speech therapy when I was a child, but many families aren’t aware that speech therapy is an option,” Markosek said. “This legislation would put speech therapy in reach for those children, which would help give them the confidence they need to use their voice inside the classroom and in their everyday lives.”

The proposed law will “require private health insurance, Medicaid, and CHIP coverage of speech therapy for early childhood stuttering.” This is a monumental step in ensuring that children who stutter receive the support they need from an early age, potentially transforming their lives.

Kidd-Gilchrist’s advocacy in Pennsylvania follows a similar effort he led in Kentucky, where he played college basketball and became a prominent figure. Earlier this year, he successfully championed a law in Kentucky that also mandates insurance coverage for speech therapy for stuttering, marking a significant achievement in his post-NBA career.

In 2021, Kidd-Gilchrist founded Change & Impact, Inc., an initiative dedicated to improving access to healthcare and expanding resources for those who stutter. His efforts through this organization have already begun to make a difference, as evidenced by the legislative successes in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Although Kidd-Gilchrist’s NBA career did not meet the high expectations set for him as a top draft pick, his defensive skills and dedication were consistently recognized. He averaged 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game over his career, with his best defensive season in 2016-17, where he averaged 1.0 block and 1.0 steal per game.

His final season in the NBA was the 2019-20 campaign, during which he played 25 games with the Charlotte Hornets and the Dallas Mavericks. Despite his career not reaching the anticipated heights, Kidd-Gilchrist is now channeling his efforts into impactful advocacy work.

Reflecting on his journey, Kidd-Gilchrist said, “I am pushing myself to use the very thing that can be a struggle — my voice — to speak up for the community I represent and whose voices often go unheard.” His personal experiences with stuttering fuel his passion for this cause, and his efforts have already begun to change lives.

The unanimous support for the bill in Pennsylvania’s House Insurance Committee highlights the importance of the issue and the impact of Kidd-Gilchrist’s advocacy. By ensuring that speech therapy is accessible to all children who need it, this legislation has the potential to make a significant difference in their educational and personal development.

Kidd-Gilchrist’s dedication to helping others who stutter, through both his advocacy and his foundation, represents a new chapter in his life. His work is a testament to the impact that individuals can have when they leverage their personal experiences to drive positive change.

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