Legislative- State- Federal
Health/Autism – Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act Introduced in the House
On May 9, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4631) was introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ). The bill largely extends the research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training activities under the Combating Autism Act for an additional 5 years. It does, however, include a few changes. The bill reforms the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to promote greater coordination among federal agencies. The bill also requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to re view the existing landscape of services (federal, state, local government, and the private and non-profit sectors), conduct a survey of stakeholders, and make recommendations to enhance coordination, efficiency, and the value of the services currently provided to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Unfortunately, this bill does not include a name change. Learn more about the Combating Autism Act on The Arc’s website.
Health/Autism – Senate Bill Introduced for Military Coverage of Behavioral Health Therapy
On May 14, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Caring for Military Children with Developmental Disabilities Act of 2014. This bill requires TRICARE, the Department of Defense and retiree health program for members of the uniformed services and their families, to provide coverage for behavioral health treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA). Under current TRICAR E policies, many children are denied coverage for ABA, and those children who do receive care often receive less than the prescribed treatment. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia currently require private insurers to cover ABA as a medically necessary service for most children with a developmental disability and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management also categorizes ABA as a “medical therapy” and covers ABA for federal employees’ dependents. Learn more at Senator Murray’s website.
Autism – House Subcommittee Hearing Announced
On May 20, the Government Operations Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Representative John Mica (R-FL), will hold a hearing on autism spectrum disorders. The hearing title is “Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders”. For more information, see the committee website.
Social Security – Senate to Hold Hearing on Strengthening Social Security
On Wednesday, May 21, the Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, chaired by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), will hold a hearing on “Strengthening Social Security to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow’s Retirees.” Witnesses will be: Stephen Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration; Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci, Chair of the Economics Department, New School for Social Research, The New School; Dr. Jason J. Fichtner, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President & CEO, Center for Global Policy Solutions. Visit the Committee website to learn more and to view live video the day of the hearing.