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Autism Bill Signed Into Law

May 20th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Autistic children will now be eligible for up to 36 thousand dollars a year of intensive therapy designed to help them learn to live normally. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,
The new legislation caps a decade of effort and forces insurance companies to offer the coverage.

Hear it Here: Autism Bill Signed Into Law

14-year-old Zach Zepp arrived at the Capitol with his mom and dad on what is one of the happiest days of their lives. They were invited by the governor to be part of a bill signing because Zach has been working for legislation to help Autistic children since he was 7.

[Im] real excited. Because this bill has finally been passed after so many years, Zepp said.

With the stroke of his pen, Charlie Crist ended a fight by parents, some of them famous, to get help for their children. Zach got the first pen. Former Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino calls the legislation historic.

The new law requires insurance companies to provide up to 36 thousand dollars a year in life altering therapy for very young children. The governor calls the mandate the right thing to do.

Whenever theres a time to do the right thing, and you have to, like, force people to do it, were willing to do that, Crist said.

Supporters have been wearing blue bracelets like this one. It contains five words beginning with e and supporters say the words are as much about the child as they are about the disease.

Enable him. Expand him, so he could express who he was. It had a dual purpose, it kept us on task, Zachs mother, Victoria Zepp said.

The legislation is important because the therapy must occur in the first years of life.

The new law also caps benefits for children at a total of two hundred thousand dollars before age 5.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Children, Health, Legislature, State News | 1 Comment »

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