One Autism Bill Dies, Another Approved

Wednesday, February 4th 2009, 8:08 am
By: News On 6

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A state House committee has killed legislation to require health insurers to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

Instead, the Republican-controlled House Economic Development and Financial Service Committee Tuesday approved legislation to increase the number of therapists and providers for autistic children.

Along party lines, the committee voted 10-5 against a motion to pass the autism mandate measure. It then passed a motion that effectively prevents the state House from taking the idea up again for two years.

Oklahoma Legislature link.

Supporters say a mandate would provide a revenue stream to pay for autism therapy. Opponents say there are not enough treatment providers to support a mandate and it would drive up health insurance rates.

The autism therapist bill passed unanimously.

Autism mandate legislation was passed by the state Senate last year but was blocked in the state House.