Washington, DC (January 20, 2009) - Today in our Nation's Capitol, millions watched the swearing in of our 44th President, Barack Obama. As a candidate for president, Obama made far reaching commitments to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Speaks is working with President Obama's new Administration on those commitments, including a federal bill for autism insurance reform.
President Obamas campaign statement put forth that he "will mandate insurance coverage of autism treatment and will also continue to work with parents, physicians, providers, researchers, and schools to create opportunities and effective solutions for people with ASD." Obama's draft bill, entitled the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (ATAA), does just that by including a section addressing broad-based federal autism insurance reform.
For the last year, Autism Speaks has been pursuing autism insurance reform in state legislatures across the country. There are now eight states that have comprehensive autism insurance reform laws in place that require health insurance companies to provide coverage of medically necessary, evidence-based autism therapies, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The Obama bill will reach further than any state law passed, reforming almost every health plan in the country and giving millions of children with autism access to the therapies they desperately need. We are hopeful that the Obama bill, being introduced on his behalf by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), will be passed by Congress soon and will end the health insurance industry's discrimination against children with autism.