California’s autism community suffered major setbacks last week in its efforts to gain access to autism treatment for all Californians. In a last-minute change, Governor Brown and the Legislature struck a budget deal for Medi-Cal funding which fell short of a previous attempt by Assemblymember John Perez (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) that would have given Medi-Cal beneficiaries the same benefits as the essential health benefits in California’s health exchange. As a result, Medi-Cal enrollees will not have coverage for autism treatment services, better known as applied behavior analysis (ABA). While some Medi-Cal enrollees will have access to ABA through California’s regional centers, many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) do not meet the regional centers’ more stringent criteria.
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