Governor Nixon is pushing the importance of autism legislation; he made stops in Jefferson City, Springfield and St. Louis with legislative sponsors of a bill that would mandate insurance coverage for treatment and diagnosis, as well as Missouri’s insurance director and doctors.
Nixon asked the legislature last session to pass a bill that would mandate insurance companies pay for the treatment and diagnosis of autism … but the general assembly failed to get it through.
Legislation has again been filed for the 2010 legislative session. Nixon, House Speaker Ron Richard and bill sponsors from both sides of the aisle say they’re optimistic that they can get a measure passed this year.
Nixon says 14 other states have such legislation in place. He hopes Missouri can be a nationwide leader in diagnosing and treating autism.
According to Senators Scott Rupp and Eric Schmitt, both of whom have dealt with autism first-hand, more than one in 100 children are diagnosed with autism.
Rupp says the fact that insurance companies won’t pay to treat the disease is deplorable. He’s sponsoring a bill that would change that. Schmitt is co-sponsor of the bill.
Rupp and Schmitt say the issue has wide bi-partisan support this year and House and Senate leadership have agreed to help shepherd the measure through the process.
The measure says that insurance companies would be required to cover the cost — up to 72 thousand dollars a year — to diagnose and treat autism.Representative Dwight Scharnhorst of Manchester is sponsoring a similar measure in the House.