Autism bill gains final passage

Insurance companies would have to provide coverage to children with autism under legislation on its way to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk.

The House voted 161-0 on Thursday to give House Bill 429 final approval, ending a years-long struggle by parents and advocacy groups to gain a level of coverage offered in many other states.

The vote in the House came after a negotiated end to a stalemate last week. House leaders had fought the bill for years, arguing it would hurt small businesses that provide insurance coverage for employees.

The compromise version passed the Senate unanimously last week.

The final bill requires insurance companies to provide up to $30,000 a year of coverage for children age 6 and under.

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