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House Bill 1257 Voted Down In Pierre

March 6, 2014, 5:10 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

House Bill 1257 Voted Down In Pierre

The autism bill didn't pass but the issue of requiring insurance companies to cover a certain therapy for the disorder might still be alive in Pierre.

Parents testifying say Applied Behavior Analysis is their children's best chance to lead productive lives.

"The results that we've seen from this therapy have been tremendous. He went from using two-word phrases, many behaviors, multiple times a day to now speaking in full sentences, asking if he can be excused from the table," Brett Huber said.

But opponents say House Bill 1257 wasn't fair, because not all insurance companies would have had to pay for the expensive therapy. Insurance companies would be exempt if the requirement to cover ABA could have cost the state money.

And Darla Pollman Rogers says insurance companies provide other coverage for people with autism.

"ABA therapy is unproven and there is widespread disagreement in the medical and scientific communities on how well early intensive behavior intervention based on ABA therapy works," Pollman Rogers said.

"I can assure you that if my child were to even be diagnosed with autism; my child would absolutely get ABA. There is no question," Dr. Daisha Seyfer said.

Dr. Daisha Seyfer is a developmental behavioral pediatrician and says research shows the therapy works.
But opponents say when the government requires insurance companies to cover something, premiums go up.

"When premiums increase, they don't increase to the company. They're spread along to the individuals and the small businesses community," Shawn Lyons said.

Some Senators in committee said the strong support and opposition during testimony is proof more compromises are needed, and encouraged both sides to continue talking to find common ground.

Bill sponsor Rep. Scott Munsterman chairs the health committee. He says it's asked for a summer study on this issue.

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