Autism advocates in Virginia are once again urging state legislators to pass a law mandating insurance coverage for autism-related health care. A vote before the full House this week marks the farthest such a proposal has ever made it.
The bill before the full house mandates $35,000 a year in health care coverage for children on the autism spectrum between the ages 2 and 6.
Teresa Champion, with the Virginia Autism Project, is the mother of an autistic teen. She says when she and other advocates in Virginia first started pushing for mandatory coverage a few years ago, they wanted coverage for children up to the age of 18. But she's still excited this year's proposal has made it out of committee, where it had died two years in a row.
"This is a very narrow bill, and none of us think it's everything we need from Virginia, but it's all we can get from Virginia today," Champion says.
Opponents of the bill say any mandating coverage for any group will increase health care premiums for all residents.