A state lawmaker says mandating insurance coverage for autism treatments is the wrong solution.
The Governor wants lawmakers to approve a bill that requires insurance companies to pay for autism care. However, State Representative Scott Newcomer (R-Hartland) says it would leave many kids without the help they need.
The proposal would only remove about one-third of the people currently on the waiting list for a state waiver program that helps pay for autism therapy treatments. Newcomer says the state should be focusing its efforts on clearing that list completely. He's proposing legislation that would expand the waiver program to meet the current need and allow it to grow if more people sign up.
The Hartland Republican says the mandate would also cost the state nearly $60 million, while providing the funding to just expand the waiver programs should only cost about $7 million.
Newcomer, who is the father of an autistic child, says many parents don't realize the mandated coverage will leave many uninsured families still waiting for care. He expects support for his proposal to grow as more parents on the waiting list realize the mandate may not help them.
With Democrat control of both houses of the Legislature, Newcomer admits his plan may have a hard time being heard. He would be open to a compromise that would combine both proposals.