Parents of children with autism and parents of children with rare digestive disorders prevailed in the eleventh hour of the Nebraska Legislature's session.See a more detailed version of the story here.
State senators voted Wednesday to advance legislation mandating insurance coverage of intensive autism therapy and providing state help to pay for the specialized formula needed by children with the digestive disorders.
Both proposals were amended into Legislative Bill 254 after the bill's original contents were stripped out. It then advanced to the final stage of consideration.
The proposals have been on a roller coaster ride for the past two years. Bills to add insurance mandates to state law traditionally face resistance in the Legislature.
The autism proposal would require coverage for therapy including applied behavior analysis, a treatment that has been shown to help autistic children learn to function better in the world, said State Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, who introduced the autism measure.
In Georgia, The Gwinnett Daily Post reports on a legislator who has switched from opposition to fervent support of mandate legislation:
Despite the death of her autism bill on the last day of this year’s legislative session, Sen. Renee Unterman is continuing her push to advance insurance coverage for children with the disorder.
The Buford woman, who heads the Senate Health Committee, held a press conference with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other senators to discuss the rising prevalence of autism last Wednesday, which was Autism Awareness Day in Georgia.
Activists used the occasion to highlight recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showing that one in 68 children are diagnosed as on the autism spectrum disorder. The group, which included other local Sens. David Shafer, Don Balfour and Fran Millar, discussed initiatives aimed at reducing the disorder’s impact on the state.