Sunday, November 28, 2010

Michigan revisits legislation to cover autism therapies

From The Detroit News:

Autism legislation passed by Democrats in the state House but once dead in the water in the Republican-controlled Senate will get a second look Tuesday after pressure from Michigan's lieutenant governor-elect, Rep. Brian Calley of Portland, whose daughter is diagnosed with the complex neurobiological disorder.

The House legislation would require insurance companies to cover autism therapies, which can cost as much as $50,000 annually. According to the Autism Society, 23 states have adopted similar reforms.

Calley released an emotional YouTube video this week in which he vows he "will no longer remain silent" on the need for autism insurance reform, which he says can save the state money.

Matt Marsden , spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop , said the issue will get a hearing — at which Calley will speak — before the Senate Republican Caucus next week.

Sen. Randy Richardville , the majority leader-elect who co-chaired hearings on autism last summer, said the House-passed legislation is unacceptable because it mandates insurance coverage. He wants to look at alternatives, such as riders on insurance policies, and would impose dollar limits on the cost of care.