Wis. Senate Passes Bill Requiring Insurers to Cover Autism

February 28, 2008

Insurance companies would be required to cover autism under a bill that passed the state Senate but probably will not go further.

Gov. Jim Doyle has been a strong advocate of the proposal, which passed under a bipartisan 25-8 vote.

But the measure faces opposition from the insurance industry and businesses that fear it would raise premiums. Supporters argue it’s needed to help autism patients get services.

The Republican-controlled Assembly is unlikely to take up the bill before it adjourns for the year in the next three weeks.

“You’re fooling the families,” Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told the measure’s supporters. “They believe something is actually being done here today.”

Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, the bill’s sponsor, said not passing the bill and denying families coverage for autism would be cruel.

“We have no choice but to pass this bill and hopefully the Assembly will take it up,” she said.

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