NEW YORK (April 29, 2011) – Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, joined families across Arizona and around the country today in applauding Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for her courageous veto of Senate Bill 1593, misguided legislation that would have essentially reversed enacted autism insurance reform legislation and forced families to once again pay tens of thousands of dollars a year out-of-pocket for critical autism diagnoses and treatments -- even though they already have health insurance coverage.
“Governor Brewer showed remarkable leadership by standing up for the best interest of Arizona’s families and ensuring that Arizonans’ health care plans will continue to be regulated by Arizona law,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services. “We thank Governor Brewer for making this decision, which took incredible courage and will have an enormously positive impact on families affected by autism across the state. We also ask that the autism community at large take the time to thank Governor Brewer personally."
Autism Speaks launched a major traditional media, social media and grassroots campaign to persuade Governor Brewer to veto the bill, including a significant television ad buy. Advocates in Arizona and all across the country worked hard for two weeks contacting Governor Brewer to convince her that signing SB 1593 into law would be detrimental to both Arizona citizens and the autism community at large.
Arizona is one of 25 states that have enacted autism insurance reform measures. Arizona’s “Steven’s Law,” enacted in 2008, requires insurers to cover up to $50,000 a year for Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for children until age nine, and $25,000 a year for children until age sixteen. It covers therapy for children whose diagnoses reflect the full range of the autism spectrum. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General, among others, as an effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism.
In many states, health insurance policies explicitly exclude coverage of these therapies , placing a significant financial burden on families seeking to provide their children with necessary services.