In April 2014, the 21st Century Cures initiative was launched by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) to accelerate the rate of innovation and research in medicine. American scientists and researchers lead the world, but thousands of diseases and disorders lack effective treatments. The bipartisan leaders have worked closely with committee colleagues, patients, innovators, researchers, and stakeholders to outline policies that will improve the lives of countless Americans, including people affected by autism. Read more here.
Enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2011, the Combating Autism Act has been the primary vehicle for federal funding for autism research, services, training and monitoring. Reauthorization legislation, called Autism CARES passed in 20014. As a result of the law, over $1.7 billion in federal funding dedicated for autism has been provided to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Human Resources and Services Administration. An additional $122 million was appropriated in 2009 and 2010 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (or, "Obamacare") is impacting all health insurance plans, and most directly individual and small group health plans. Autism Speaks has produced autism-specific resources to help families better understand the law.
Enacted at the federal level in 2014, the ABLE Act allows the creation of tax-free 529 accounts for individuals with disabilities, including autism, to save for their future needs without losing access to other resources. ABLE implementation is now required at the state level.
Autism Speaks is supporting action by Congress to strengthen and expand autism coverage under the military's TRICARE insurance program. Learn more about this issue and other initiatives affecting military families raising children with autism.