North Carolina State Level Advocacy Updates:
Autism Insurance Reform (Christopher’s Bill) – We were unsuccessful in getting this passed in 2010 during the NC Short Session. We did educate a ton of Legislators on the issues and laid the groundwork for 2011. Insurance reform is a joint effort between ASNC (Autism Society of North Carolina) & AS (Autism Speaks). Our Committee is working on updating our proposed Bill, educating parents on lobbying efforts, working on building relation/agreements with other groups supporting Autism and analyzing the November election results to find a new CORE Sponsor for our 2011 efforts. With the power change in Raleigh we need to change how we push/move this Bill. If you have any strong legislative contacts in Raleigh, we would be interested in leveraging these to find a Sponsor for the Bill. Randolph Cloud has been retained by ASNC as our Lobbyist for 2011 again. More information on this effort can be found at: http://www.autismvotes.org/site/c.frKNI3PCImE/b.4434153/k.9A83/North_Carolina.htm
Autism Speaks National Legislative Agenda:
Federal Level: - ABLE - Achieving a Better Life Experience Act - is designed to encourage individuals with autism (and other disabilities) and their families to save for disability-related expenses. The ABLE Act is meant to supplement rather than to replace benefits provided by other sources (including Medicaid and private insurance). The ABLE Act authorizes “ABLE Accounts,” which are similar in many respects to existing 529 college savings plans. Provided certain rules are met, disability savings accounts will be exempt from federal taxation.
In 2010, we failed to gain enough sponsor in the House & Senate to move forward. AS will be moving this into the 2011 Session. In North Carolina we failed to get the support of Senator Hagan on this bill or have her even give us an opportunity to discuss with her or her staff. In the House we had the following Sponsor from North Carolina.
House Sponsor for ABLE:
Rep Brad Miller (NC-13)
Rep Sue Myrick (NC-9)
Rep Walter Jones (NC-3)
Rep Mike McIntyre (NC-7)
Rep David Price (NC-4)
Federal Level – CAA (Combating Autism Act of 2006) – CAA is the single largest piece of Federal Legislation passed in recent history and it expires in 2011. AS and other organization are working to introduce a re-authorization of this Law. This will be a MAJOR effort in 2011, look for updates in the near future!
Below is an overview of CAA:
The Combating Autism Act Enhances Research, Surveillance, And Education Regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Act Authorizes Research Under NIH To Address The Entire Scope Of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism, sometimes called "classical autism," is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).
The Act Authorizes Regional Centers Of Excellence For Autism Spectrum Disorder Research And Epidemiology. These Centers collect and analyze information on the number, incidence, correlates, and causes of ASD and other developmental disabilities. The Act also authorizes grants to States for collection, analysis, and dissemination of data related to autism.
The Act Authorizes Activities To Increase Public Awareness Of Autism, Improve The Ability Of Health Care Providers To Use Evidence-Based Interventions, And Increase Early Screening For Autism. The Act authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:
The Act Calls On The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) To Enhance Information Sharing. The IACC provides a forum to facilitate the efficient and effective exchange of information about autism activities, programs, policies, and research among the Federal government, several non-profit groups, and the public. The Combating Autism Act requires the IACC to provide information and recommendations on ASD-related programs, and to continue its work to develop and update annually a strategic plan for ASD research.