Georgia state Sen. Tommie Williams and three other General Assembly members urged their colleagues on Tuesday to pass legislation that would require private health insurance companies in Georgia to cover treatment for autism.
Georgia is one of 16 states that does not mandate coverage for autism.
“It’s time to fix this problem,” said Williams, a Republican from Lyons.
His niece’s daughter, Ava Bullard, is the inspiration for the proposed legislation, called Ava’s Law. The issue has been raised at the state Legislature for the past five years, Williams said.
Williams was joined by Rep. Scot Turner, R-Holly Springs, whose son suffers from autism; Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell; and Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, at a news conference that was part of Autism Day at the Georgia Capitol. Albers and Harbin are lead sponsors of the Ava’s Law bills in their chambers.
“If the bill gets to the floor of the House and Senate, it will pass,” Harbin said.
To bolster their case, the legislators noted that Gov. Nathan Deal supported first-time funding for coverage of autism in the State Employee Health Plan. The proposal allocates $2.4 million for treatment.