Senator Gumm and several families with autistic children discussed legislative efforts to require health insurance policies to cover autism-related diagnosis and treatment in a news conference Tuesday, Feb 26. Autism, a neurological disorder, affects as many as one in 150 children in the U.S., yet is the least funded of disabilities.
Gumm, D-Durant, was author of SB 1537, also known as “Nick’s Law,” which was not heard in the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee. The law would have mandated new education for teachers and police officers and would also require insurance companies to cover autism therapy.
Currently, insurance companies in Oklahoma do not cover such therapy. Government funding is available to families in need of therapy, yet in other states insurance companies cannot deny therapy for the disability to children diagnosed with autism.
The Gumm news conference hoped to bring more attention to the issue at hand, the increasingly frequent diagnosis of autism among the population, and the funding difficulty families with autistic members face when seeking help.
For the law in its entirety, click here. For one parent’s personal take on “Nick’s Law,” check out her blog.
Because he lacked the votes for passage, Gumm didn’t have the bill, Senate Bill 1537, heard in committee. But he plans to attach amendments on autism to other bills on the Senate floor.au