Alabama Autism Bill
May 11, 2017 Thursday
I decided to check my RSS feeds for the first time in a while, and was pleasantly surprised to find this:
A closely watched bill to require many insurance plans to cover autism therapy will be debated in the Alabama Senate next Wednesday, President Pro Tem Del Marsh said today.
"We're not only committed to getting a vote in this chamber, we're committed to get it to the House in time to concur if necessary and to the governor," Marsh said.
A maximum of four meeting days remain in the legislative session after today.
Senate budget chairman Trip Pittman had said Wednesday he might not report the bill from the budget committee even though the committee approved it by a 14-2 vote.
Today, Pittman said he would report the bill although he said he remains concerned about potential costs to taxpayers. Pittman, who has been a budget chairman since Republicans took control of the Senate in 2010, said how to handle the autism bill is one of the most difficult decisions he's had to make.
"This is a very sensitive issue, a very important bill that affects a lot of people," Pittman said. "At the end of the day we have to be able to pay for the cost of this, and there are a lot of unknown costs associated with this."
Parents and other advocates for the bill, many wearing red T-shirts bearing the message "Autism Matters," have packed public hearings and committee meetings and made their presence known in the halls of the State House.
The bill would require insurance coverage for applied behavior analysis, which is considered a vital therapy for many children with autism but can be out of reach for some families because of the cost.
Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, said he and other senators who support the autism bill would move to cut short the final days of the legislative session if they are denied a chance to vote on it. But Brewbaker said he did not expect that to happen.
"Sometimes it's good to be in an election cycle," Brewbaker said. "This is one of those times."
All 140 legislative seats are up for election next year.
Marsh said he has a niece with an autistic child and understands the challenges families face. But he said lawmakers consider how the state would be affected.
"What would happen, for instance, if we create a piece of legislation that in essence, because it would increase the cost of insurance so much, that businesses just quit offering insurance?" Marsh said. "That doesn't do anybody any good.
"I don't see that happening, but we have to do our homework and go through this process and make sure we create a good piece of legislation that serves the need of the autism community and all these people who have insurance in the state of Alabama."
It's certainly a delicate issue. Ever since we were ransacked, razed, and demolished, our economy and finances have been crap, and we've never bounced back from it. While things like insurance are nice to have, we are chronically broke, and as the saying goes, "you can't pour from an empty cup". We're also required to have a balanced budget, which I find very, very odd that most states and even the Federal government itself doesn't require of themselves. So if we can afford this bill, great! If not, well, c'est la vie.
In other news, somebody got hit by a bus on the interstate, which is weird because pedestriances and bicycles are supposed to be banned on the interstate. Concerning vehicular fatalities, we are ranked number in nine in deadly police pursuits.
And apparently the UK doesn't have mandatory pumping time like the USA. I almost can't believe we're ahead of the UK on a woman's issue, considering how bad our c-section rate and midwife bans.
CNN is completely unreliable as a news source for me because whenever I try to read anything, a video pops up and gets in the way or shouts over the text. CNN has basically made their website unusable for people with my kind of sensory issues.
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