One disappointment of the past legislative session was the failure to enact legislation requiring health insurers to cover treatment for autism. On Friday, John Kasich acted on his own to get the job done, the governor announcing that the coverage would be available to state employees, plus through the private market and in the coming health insurance exchange, part of the Affordable Care Act and scheduled to open in 2014.
The treatment of autism will become part of the state’s “essential health benefits.” The decision arrives not a moment too soon.
The Ohio Medicaid program for the poor and disabled already covers autism treatment. Thirty-two states have taken the step unveiled by the governor. Thus, there are elements of fairness and catching-up in the decision.
Mostly, the choice is just smart. As the governor noted, studies show that early intervention translates into children with autism doing better in school, finding jobs and otherwise becoming more independent and connected.
In addition, the coverage eases the emotional and financial pressures on parents who want to do the right thing for their child. Now, in Ohio, they will be in a much better position to do so.