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WASHINGTON, DC (December 11, 2013) -- The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act on a bipartisan 295-103 vote. The bill was first announced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, as a way to increase federal funding for pediatric research, including autism.
Sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), the bill would redirectpublic funding now dedicated for the national Presidentialparty conventions to pediatric research, including for autism. The bill originally would have eliminated public funding for all elements of thePresidential campaigns, butit was modified to affect just funding for the conventions.
“Autism Speaks commends Majority LeaderCantorfor his leadership in making pediatric research a priority,” said Autism Speaks President Liz Feld. “The need to make gains with autism research has never been more urgent.”
Cantor championed the Kids First bill as a keynote speaker at last month's Autism Speaks to Washington national policy summit.
The bill moves next to the Senate. The billwas recently renamed after a 10-year-old girl who died in October following an 11-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor. It is estimated the billwould add $12.5 millionfor pediatric research grants.
Car maker claims therapy provided in hospital was 'educational,' not medical
COVINGTON, KY (December 11, 2013) -- A Toyota worker has sued the car manufacturer for denying insuranceclaims for his children'shospital treatment for autism on the basis that it was "educational." The complaint was filed just months after GM and Chrysler began voluntarily offering their employees insurance coverage for the treatment, applied behavior analysis (ABA).
The complaint was brought in U.S. District Court by Joseph Lucas of Westmont, IL, against Toyota, whichmanages its North American manufacturing operations out of Erlanger, KY, and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which administers claims for Toyota.Toyota self-insures its employee health benefit plan.
Lucas said his three children started receiving up to 30 hours weekly of ABA therapy for autism in 2011 from medical professionals atNationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Toyota denied his insurance claims on the basisthe ABAservices were considered “primarily educational in nature,” according to the complaint.
"Children's Hospital is one of the leading pediatric hospitals in the United States.Children's Hospital is not a school," the complaint said.
"To conclude...that Children's Hospital is operating the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders to impart substantive education to children with ASD...is to ignore the clear evidence about the hospital's program," the complaint said. "Defendants' conclusion demonstrates either a fundamental and quite basic misunderstanding of ABA services provided to children with ASD or is an intentional effort to avoid paying covered claims."
Represented by Robert Starks of Parry Deering Futscher & Sparks, PSC, Lucas seeks reimbursement with interest for his claims.
California firm newest Fortune 500 company to voluntarily add coverage
SAN DIEGO (December 11, 2013) -- Qualcomm, a wireless technology services firm, will introduce coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) for autism in its employee health plan in 2014.
Ranked 149 in the Fortune 500, Qualcomm has become the newest firm to announce it will voluntarily offer the coverage, joining JPMorgan Chase, American Express, United Technologies, General Motors and Chrysler to make the move this year.Each of the companies self-insures its health plan, meaning they are regulated under federal ERISA law which pre-empts state autism insurance reform laws.
Qualcomm's decision was announced by the Autism Health Insurance Project, which reported that the change resulted from a request by two employees,Lisa Lammens and Dave Ross, whose son, Jaxen, is on the autism spectrum.The company has 26,600 employees.