Washington Insurance Program May Be A National Model, Massachusetts May Expand Autism Services

News outlets report on health issues at the state level including a health insurance program in Washington State and a bill to increase coverage for autism services in Massachusetts.

NPR reports: "Now, while members of Congress are trying to figure out how to help the so-called working poor afford health insurance, one state has a plan that's been doing just that. For two decades, Washington State has negotiated lower rates with insurance companies for those who can't afford the full premiums. And the U.S. Senate is now considering allowing all states to do the same. ... Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, is pushing for the final health care bill to include an option like her state's insurance program. She sees it as an alternative to the much debated public option" (Seinfeld, 11/7).

The Cape Cod Times reports on a Massachusetts bill that seeks coverage for autism services: "In Massachusetts, children under the age of 3 with autism receive therapy through the Department of Public Health's early intervention services. After age 3 those children depend on services provided by their school districts. ... But some children with autism need more than a school district can provide. ... State Rep. Barbara L'Italien, D-Andover, whose 19-year-old son is autistic, introduced the bill, which is part of a nationwide push by the advocacy group Autism Speaks" (Connors, 11/9).

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