The U.S. Senate approved the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support, or Autism CARES, Act, on Thursday, September 19, 2019.
The Autism CARES Act of 2019 will not only renews federal support for existing autism research and programs but also expands these activities, laying increased emphasis on reducing health disparities and improving services throughout the life span.
The Autism CARES Act 2019 H.R. 1058, will help make sure there are funds readily available for research, prevalence tracking, screening, professional training and other government activities related to autism. The H.R. 1058 renews an existing federal law that originated in 2006 for another five years.
The version of Autism CARES Act we currently use will expire at the end of this month, if president Trump fails to sign the new bill into law before then, all the programs covered under the pact would expire. Do you know that the House of Representatives approved the renewal legislation over the summer? It was delayed until now because a single senator had a hold on the bill since July. It’s nerve-wracking to have the new version ready for passage into law close to the expiration date of the old version,” said Kim Musheno, vice president of public policy at the Autism Society of America. “So many people depend on the services provided in the law.”
Once president Trump accent to the bill, the government would spend $369 million on autism efforts each year through 2024.
There is added attention in the latest incarnation of the bill to the needs of individuals with autism of all ages with the phrase “across the lifespan” included in several provisions covering everything from screening to research on interventions.
There are calls for an increase in the number of self-advocates, parents and autism group representatives on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal autism advisory panel, from two to three each in the new legislation. The new legislation also requires officials from the Departments of Labor, Justice, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development to join the committee. And, it asks the Department of Health and Human Services to produce a report for Congress on the health and well-being of individuals with autism.
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