Autism Amendment Dies in the House

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Remember that amendatory veto Blagojevich put together a while back? The one that would have required insurance companies to cover up to $36,000 a year in occupational, physical, speech and behavioral therapies in addition to psychiatric and psychological services, and an unlimited number of doctor visits for autistic kids until they turn 21?

That bill, known as House Bill 4255, died yesterday in the Illinois House, another victim of the feuding between legislators and the governor in Springfield. "This was our fourth shot at getting this bill passed and I can't believe that we didn't get it," said Peter Di Cianni, author of the original senate bill Blagojevich took the language from, and father of an autistic child. "I want insurance for our kids. I don't care how it gets done," said he said. "I'm not a legislator. I'm a father and I'm fighting for my kids. And I'm fighting for the 11,000 kids that are dealing with this problem."

But legislators took a different view. "For the governor to take legislation and completely rewrite it is dangerous because where does it start and stop? This vote was not about being heartless, this vote was about our constitution," State Rep. Lou Lang told the press. Di Cianni hopes that legislators are telling the truth about their rationale. According to Lang, two autism-related proposals are before the General Assembly, and Lang thinks they could be on Blago's desk by early November.

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