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Nixon Presses for Passage of Autism Bill

Surrounded by old and young Missourians with autism spectrum disorders, Governor Jay Nixon said this morning in Springfield that he is calling upon the Missouri House to pass a bill that would require insurance companies to cover autism treatments. KSMU's Jennifer Moore was at the press conference and reports.

The governor spoke at the Judevine Center for Autism on Glenstone Avenue.

"As it stands in Missouri today," the governor said, "the vast majority of health insurance plans provide no coverage for treatments and therapies needed by those with autism. Under our laws, other conditions, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, must be covered, or are required to be covered. But no such standard exists for autism."

The Missouri Senate has already passed such a bill. But the House version of the bill has met opposition in the House. Currently, it’s being considered by the House Rules Committee as to whether it should proceed to the House floor.

The governor added that just as insurance companies were forced to cover mammograms and other tests in their insurance policies, they should also be required to cover the early diagnosis and treatment of autism.State lawmakers only have five more days of regular session. Nixon said he would consider calling the legislature into a special session if the bill does not pass by Friday evening.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.