Autism insurance bill passes Senate floor

Legislation extending autism insurance coverage to children passed the Senate floor on Thursday despite heated opposition by a handful of Tea Party conservatives.

Senate Bill 2581 won the vote by 39-6. It requires health insurance policies to offer coverage for autism treatment like Applied Behavior Analysis for children ages 2-8. It also regulates the practice of ABA therapy and requires providers obtain state licenses.

Some, though, argued the state shouldn’t tell private insurers what to cover and questioned why autism should get special recognition. Led by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, opponents took turns grilling the bill’s main sponsor for roughly a half hour….

…Joining McDaniel in voting against the measure were Republican Sens. Eugene Clarke, R-Hollandale, Angela Hill, R-Picayune, Tony Smith, R-Poplarville, Melanie Sojourner, R-Natchez, and Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula.

Clarion Ledger