A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Legislature Moves To Help Families – And Has A Chance To Help Even More

Legislature Moves To Help Families – And Has A Chance To Help Even More

July 29, 2010

This week, advocates for children with special needs were pleased that the Autism Bill looks to be on track to move toward passage before the end of the Legislative session. The bill, which will require insurance coverage for a number of autism services, will provide much-needed help to thousands of Massachusetts’ families. The cost of this relief is a bargain at an estimated 83 cents per member per month.

At a time when everyone is concerned with health care expenses, lead sponsor Representative Barbara L’Italien said, “We’re pretty confident we can manage those costs in a responsible way.”

Along the same lines as the Autism Bill is legislation supported by the Children’s Mental Health Campaign – An Act Relative to the Coordination of Children’s Mental Health Care. This bill too would help parents of children with mental health needs by working to ensure that the care for these children is well coordinated between counselors, physicians, teachers, and other people in the child’s life.

If the Autism Bill is a bargain at 83 cents per month, the Care Coordination legislation is a downright steal. According to a report by the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, the cost of coordinating mental health care for children is a mere 5.5 cents per member per month, or 66 cents per year!

With the end of the 2009-2010 session rapidly approaching, the legislature should move now to pass both the Autism Bill and the Care Coordination legislation. These parents can’t wait.

The time is NOW to act!
-Matt Noyes