Feb. 10, 2009 Legislative Tidbits

Days remaining in session: 39

Autism bill passes Senate

A measure requiring private health insurance companies to cover autism treatment passed the Senate Monday.

If the House and Gov. Bill Richardson sign on, autism coverage would include screening and treatment through speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and applied behavioral analysis, according to the Senate Republicans.

Under the measure, the maximum benefit would be $36,000 a year or $200,000 per lifetime.

“I have watched this process personally, the private insurance companies know the significance of this and I believe they need a gentle push to include this coverage,” said Sen. Clinton Harden, R-Clovis, the measure’s sponsor.

“Insurance is about taking a risks and spreading the risk over a group of people. This is so moms and dads of autistic children do not have to give up a job to care for their child with autism. This provides coverage and help.”

Looking Ahead:

• Zombies and pirates will descend upon The Roundhouse today. These will be students from the College of Santa’s Performing Arts Department, who will be talking to legislators in support of