Rep. Wes Keller still sees flaws in a bill that extends insurance coverage to some children for treatment of autism, but the chairman of the House Health and Social Services Committee said Friday that he plans to let the widely supported proposal move out of his committee.
Some insurance companies voiced opposition of the measure, and Keller sympathized with their claim that it is unfair to put the burden on private companies without extending the onus to the rest of the market. Premera Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Alaska has claimed a 3 percent increase of their premiums will likely occur, and they have said the bill only affects 15 percent of the market with the rest uninsured or covered under public plans.
Keller said after a hearing on the bill Wednesday that he was unlikely to let it through, but now six cross-sponsors of the bill are members of his committee. They and the bill's 29 overall cross sponsors in the House have won out.
He said Friday he has realized his position on the matter leaves him in a "pretty severe minority."
If everything goes as planned on Saturday, the bill will move to the Labor and Commerce Committee as scheduled. That committee could, however, waive the bill to ensure a floor vote takes place before session ends Sunday at midnight.