As written, the law would mandate coverage for autism-related treatments for children ages 2 to 6. While McDonnell has said he's sympathetic to the plight of families with an autistic child, he also says he's worried about saddling businesses with extra health-care costs.
"I'm also concerned about -- just generally about the cost of health care given what's happened at the federal level and the mandates on Virginia. So creating new mandates in our state -- it's a challenging time to do that," he says.
The law would exempt small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, but would cover state workers. The General Assembly can either accept or reject the governor's amendments, but some autism advocates say significant changes could be deal breakers. The legislature will consider the governor's amendments on April 6.
CORRECTION: This post originally stated that the governor had signed the bill. He has only proposed amendments, which still require approval by the legislature.