(HARRISBURG, PA) June 29, 2007 -- The Pennsylvania legislature will vote soon on the Autism Benefit Insurance Restoration Bill, introduced in the House by Speaker Dennis O'Brien and in the Senate by Senator Jane Orie. The bill will require private insurance companies to offer coverage for autism-related health services.
This past Monday, the bill received impassioned support from more than 100 families from the autism community at a rally in the state capitol rotunda, where shouts of Cover Our Kids! rang through the halls. U.S. Senator Robert Casey (PA) arrived during the rally and added his support for the legislation.
This is, quite simply, an issue of civil rights for thousands of Pennsylvanians, said Speaker O'Brien. It's a matter of justice.
The Pennsylvania bill is designed to serve as a model for other state legislation as Autism Speaks continues its nationwide effort to help end insurance industry discrimination against children with autism. As a vote on the bill nears, insurance lobbyists are putting pressure on legislators to vote against the legislation. That's why families from the autism community and Autism Speaks have lobbied at the state capitol. But now, with time running out, we need every possible voice everyone directly or indirectly affected by autism to be heard to get this bill passed.