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AutismLink, Autism Center of Pittsburgh Denounce Senate Autism Bill

PITTSBURGH, June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AutismLink, the largest autism advocacy organization in the State of Pennsylvania, is standing with Governor Edward G. Rendell and Speaker of the House Dennis M. O'Brien in their denouncement of the Senate Autism Bill. The Bill, HB1150, is scheduled for vote today. The bill requires insurance companies to cover up to $36,000 of autism-related treatment for individuals less than 21 years old, but was gutted of all useful language by the Senate's Banking and Insurance Committee, headed by Indiana Senator Don White, a former insurance broker.

"This bill was carefully crafted to end insurance discrimination of children with autism in Pennsylvania," said Cindy Waeltermann, President of AutismLink and parent of two children with autism. "Those who carefully crafted the bill understand the system in Pennsylvania. Although the bill has been endorsed by Autism Speaks, Pennsylvania families of children with autism by and large reject the bill."

"Make no mistake," said AutismLink Executive Director and parent of a child with autism, Rick Bryant, "The Autism Speaks team working on this bill is comprised of individuals from New York, California and Maryland and they are completely ignoring the advice and information given to them from Pennsylvania advocates and/or clinicians."

Speaker O'Brien agrees, "The current version of HB 1150 may look like it gives coverage to families affected by autism, but it's an illusion. This version will actually hurt some families who have kids with autism," said House Speaker Dennis M. O'Brien. "We must have assurances in HB 1150 that any standard used by the insurance companies is consistent with the minimum standard used by Medical Assistance. Otherwise, families who receive certain services under Medical Assistance are at risk of having those services denied by private insurance. This risk is unacceptable."

Lenore Wossidlo, a parent of a severely challenged child with autism in Pittsburgh agrees, "I am appalled at what Autism Speaks did to SB1150 to spoil it for these kids who can do so much when given the services they need. I stand behind the hard work of Speaker O'Brien."

ABOUT AUTISMLINK - Established in 1999, AutismLink is Pennsylvania's largest autism information and education network. To learn more about AutismLink, visit

SOURCE AutismLink
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