Applied Behavioral Analysis

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Despite Promises, Key Autism Therapy Cut from Medi-Cal

By Ryder Diaz, KQED

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

If you don’t have a child with autism, you might not know about Applied Behavioral Analysis. ABA is widely regarded as a necessary and effective treatment.

Now many poor children will lose access to this therapy under deals reached in Sacramento last week. Meanwhile, other kids — including those who become insured under the state’s new Obamacare marketplace — may well continue to have access to this therapy.

Here’s the background: under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in California. People with incomes up to 138 percent of poverty will be eligible. Last week, as the legislature and the administration were wrapping up the state’s budget, the legislature was simultaneously moving forward on final bills to implement the Medi-Cal expansion.

Last Friday, after months of debate, legislators sent two final bills to the governor’s desk to approve the expansion. But for supporters of the expansion, this victory came at the cost — ABA therapy for kids on Medi-Cal was axed. Children’s advocates are frustrated. Continue reading