The proposal to force insurance companies to cover therapies for autism disorders might be leaving out thousands of Missouri children. This year’s version of the autism coverage mandate specifically excludes those who get healthcare through the Medicaid program—Mo Healthnet, as it’s called.

St. Louis Senator Joan Bray says she is “appalled” that children of the working poor won’t get the coverage that people who have private insurance would get under the bill. Sponsor Scott Rupp of Wentzville says Bray’s proposal to include MoHealthnet recipients in the program would be a Medicaid expansion, which the state cannot afford. Besides, he says, they have the opportunity to get the services through waivers the federal government can grant to the regular Medicaid coverage. Rupp says MoHealthnet recipients can get the therapies now through the Medicaid waivers that privately-insured families can’t get. He says his bill [summary] will keep insurance companies from refusing coverage for autism therapies. He says autism is the only one of the top ten neuro-biological conditions that private insurers refuse to cover.

Bray’s amendment will be up for a vote when the Senate returns to the bill today.

AUDIO: Except from Senate debate 40 min