SACRAMENTO (March 5, 2014) -- The leader of the California Senate has raised the possibility of funding coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) for autism through Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg raised the Medicaid funding issue at the conclusion of a hearing by the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders on the effectiveness of SB.946, the state's 2011 autism insurance reform law. Steinberg, who authored the law, said the law on balance has been a "tremendous success."
"The next step, of course, is extending (applied behavior analysis) therapy to families who are on Medi-Cal," Steinberg said, according to California Healthline. "It's equal protection. If it's good for some kids, then why isn't it good for all kids?
"It's an issue of money, and we intend to take that up during the budget session," Steinberg said. "We ain't done yet. There's one more budget cycle."
Last year, the Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown failed to reach a funding agreement to continue autism therapies for 900,000 children who transitioned out of the Healthy Families Program into Medi-Cal. The transition was supposed to have resulted in no loss of services, but instead many families said their children lost access to ABA once in Medi-Cal.
KXTV-10, Sacramento's ABA affiliate station, reported on the hearing: