Health care coverage long-sought by the parents of autistic children could become mandatory in Kansas if a bill that passed the House 92-30 this week is signed into law.
The bill, authored by Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, requires that private health insurers provide coverage for behavioral therapy for children up to age 19 who are clinically diagnosed with conditions along the autism spectrum.
When Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, brought it to the House floor, it touched off more than four hours of debate, with opponents saying the mandate was burdensome to business and unfair to children on public health care.
But Rubin successfully argued that study after study has shown autistic children who receive early treatment are more likely to be mainstreamed in school and employed after school, which saves money.
...The House Democrats came out in strong support of the bill, with House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, saying raising an autistic child provides "some of the most unbelievable challenges any parent can have.”
Rep. Judith Loganbill, D-Wichita, said some insurance providers cover [filtered word] implants for erectile dysfunction and they should be “called to task” for not covering autism in children.
"What we're asking them to do is, pardon my French, suck it up," Loganbill said.