Medicaid would cover certain treatments for autism under a budget proposal that soon will be voted on in the Michigan Legislature.
The bill was one of many approved Tuesday by joint panels made up of lawmakers from the House and Senate. Bills still need approval from the full Senate and House, along with Gov. Rick Snyder, before they can become part of the state’s spending plan for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
Lawmakers are likely to take final votes on budget bills this week. They appear to be following a framework agreement reached last week between the Republican governor and Republican leaders of the GOP-controlled Legislature.
The autism coverage is included in a budget bill for the Department of Community Health. It would extend coverage through Medicaid to qualifying children 18 and under. That’s expected to cost about $21 million, with roughly $7 million coming from the state's general fund.
The move comes after state lawmakers earlier this year approved requiring insurance companies to offer coverage for certain autism treatments. That legislation was backed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who has a daughter with autism.Sue Thoms writes at The Grand Rapids Press:
With insurance coverage now required for intensive therapy for autism, therapists hope to see a surge of children starting treatment this fall, says a Hope Network therapist.
“We’re excited about it,” said Elyse Wiseman, a behavior analyst at Hope Network’s Center for Autism. “Families have been dying to get treatment, but it hasn’t been an option.”
The long-term effect of the treatment mandate approved by state lawmakers in April will be seen in better quality of life, less need for special education services and better job and income potential for people with autism, she said.