Budget calls of $20.8M to aid kids on Medicaid with the condition.
Georgia autism advocates are celebrating Gov. Nathan Deal's plan to include $20.8 million to help cover autism services for children on Medicaid, part of his broader push for a record $25 billion budget in fiscal 2018.
Deal unveiled the funding proposal last week during his annual state of the state address to a joint session of the General assembly. Advocates had lobbied for the change but had been unsure he would do it.
Coverage for children with autism has expanded notably in Georgia with help from state officials. The state health plan added coverage for autism services for children a few years ago, and lawmakers in 2015 passed a mandate requiring private insurers to cover autism service for children up to the age of 6.
Anna Bullard, whose daughter, Ava, inspired the 2015 law, said advocates hope to persuade lawmakers to raise that age cap. But she said they were also thankful for their successes.
"The governor added coverage for sate employees with the state health plan in 214, Ava's Law finally [assed in 2015 and now we close the gap with the governor adding Medicaid coverage for autism this year," Bullard said.
She added that advocates are thankful to Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle "for their passion and commitment to Georgia's children and families."
"lives will be changed forever," she said, "and today families have hope that they have never had."
Advocates on Feb 13 will hold their annual Autism Day to lobby at the state capital.
Kristina Torres (1-17-217). Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-atlanta-journal-constitution/20170117/