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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Republican delegate asks Cuccinelli for opinion on autism bill

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Del. Jackson Miller has asked Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to determine if federal law allows the General Assembly to cap insurance coverage for families of autistic children at $35,000 a year as a House bill requires.

Miller (R-Prince William) was one of the most vocal opponents of the bill when it came before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, and he voted against the bill this week on the House floor.

The Republican-controlled House passed the bill requiring health insurers to pay for a specialized therapy known as applied behavioral analysis, as well as occupational, speech and other therapies, for children ages 2 to 6. The bill would cap annual costs at $35,000 and applies to businesses that employ more than 50 people and are not self-insured. It also covers public employees.

But some conservatives opposed the bill backed Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford). The state's tea party federation came out against it, and the conservative group Americans for Prosperity targeted Howell in robocalls.

Miller said he opposed the bill because it only applies to some businesses and would only help a limited number of families; he also doesn't think federal law allows the state to cap annual costs at $35,000.

A different version of the bill sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) is pending in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where the mandate has typically been supported.

By Anita Kumar  | February 4, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, State Senate, William Howell  
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