Jay Greene writes at Crain's Detroit Business:
Critics of an autism bill stalled in the Michigan Legislature for more than three years never have disputed data that show early intervention to treat autistic children could save taxpayers millions of dollars in future health care and educational costs.
What opponents of the bill -- including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Manufacturers Association and Small Business Association of Michigan -- object to are the mandates that would require health insurers to cover treatment costs.
A compromise in the works finds common ground by offering a tax credit -- or expense offset -- to insurers.
The compromise planned by Gov. Rick Snyder, who supports the autism legislation; Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe; and Republican leaders in the Senate and House may give supporters of the bills the best chance of passage in years, said Dave Meador, a leading business proponent of the bill and CFO of DTE Energy Co. in Detroit.
While the insurance mandate is still in Senate Bills 414 and 415, health insurers would be allowed to claim a credit against the new 1 percent health insurance claims tax that went into effect last October, according to a Dec. 16 report by the state Department of Treasury.