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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Autism Treatment Double Standards


Kids with autism face double standard

Officially, Minnesota doesn't pay for an intensive type of autism therapy. Yet it has - but only for some families.

Two years ago, a single mother in the Twin Cities asked the state Medicaid program to pay for an intensive type of autism therapy for her 2-year-old son.

She was turned down. State officials said the treatment -- known as Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA -- is "not now, and never has been,'' a covered service.

It turns out, though, that's not the whole story.

For years, Minnesota taxpayers have been subsidizing that same treatment, which can cost up to $100,000 a year, for middle-class and even wealthy families, including the children of lawyers and business executives.

Last year, the state Medicaid program spent $13.5 million on ABA treatments for 379 children -- most of them above the poverty line, according to state records. Those families have been able to tap into Medicaid through a special disability category that has no limit on family income.

Yet the state tells some of its poorest children, who are in Medicaid managed-care plans, that ABA is simply not an option.

Read more at http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/wellness/119121669.html



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