California Democrats Unveil Bills Aimed at Growth in Autism Cases
On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers introduced eight bills that aim to address the growing number of autism diagnoses in children in California, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The bills are the result of three years of state public hearings by the Legislature's Commission on Autism, which consisted of health experts, educators and families affected by the developmental condition (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 4/3).
The bills include:
- SB 1563 by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland), which would require the departments of Managed Health Care and Insurance to ensure that health plans provide reasonable coverage of autism and other developmental disorders;
- SB 527 by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), which seeks to improve early identification and intervention of autism through a pilot project of best practices (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 4/3);
- SB 1175 by Steinberg, which would work to expand independent living opportunities for those with autistic disorders; and
- SB 1364 by Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), which would declare that autism disorders are part of a state public health care crisis and would direct the Department of Public Health to increase services in underserved areas (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 4/3).
Other bills would allow teachers with certain special education credentials to teach children with autism, as well as move some of the children from regional centers to school districts (Sacramento Bee, 4/3).
Perata did not estimate the cost of implementing the bills (Contra Costa Times, 4/3). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.