The cost of mandating health insurers to cover autism diagnoses and treatment became an issue today in the Michigan Senate, which ultimately approved the idea despite objections from a handful of Republicans.
The three-bill, bipartisan package gathered support from Democrats, though some argued that the coverage should be extended to other mental health disorders.
But a group of Republicans objected, saying the bills could cost too much over time.
Two of the measures passed 29-9 -- and the other 28-10 -- with all objections coming from the GOP side of the aisle.
The bills require insurers to cover an autism diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, they direct the state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department to create an autism coverage incentive program through which insurance carriers and third-party administrators could see reimbursement for paid claims.
The cost is expected to come in at $15 million in the first year.The Fort Dodge Messenger reports on Iowa:
Watching his 10-year-old grandson live with autism inspired state Sen. Daryl Beall to work on making the treatment of that condition more affordable for Iowa families.
The Fort Dodge Democrat's efforts advanced significantly on Tuesday when the state Senate passed a bill requiring insurers to provide coverage for autism treatments.
''It was the proudest vote I've cast in 10 years,'' Beall said Tuesday evening.
The bill that passed 43-7 late Tuesday afternoon is a followup to a measure Beall wrote and successfully worked to pass in 2010 that he called Drew's Law in honor of his grandson, Drew Beall. That law makes insurance coverage of autism treatment available to the children of state government employees. Drew Beall, however, is not eligible for the coverage under that measure.
Beall said his latest proposal had ''tremendous bipartisan support'' in the Senate. He said Sens. Bill Anderson, R-Sioux City; Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City; and Tom Reilly, D-Oskaloosa; ''all spoke passionately for the bill.'