Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Autism funding becomes stumbling block in budget
Health » Pilot program a priority for House, but the Senate doesn’t seem too willing to play ball.
First Published Mar 05 2012 04:27 pm • Last Updated Mar 05 2012 11:15 pm

House and Senate leaders were deadlocked Monday over whether to create a program insuring children with autism, how much to spend on roads and how much money to save.

Republican leaders huddled in closed-door meetings for long stretches, trying to hammer out the remaining, thorny issues.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

House leadership has been clear that the autism pilot program is among the group’s top priorities. The program seeks to cover about 700 young children through the state’s insurance program, Medicaid and a voluntary contribution from insurance companies.

But Senate Republicans have little interest in the project, said Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.

"It doesn’t look hopeful at this point," he said. "Right now I’d say the Republican caucus is leaning against it. … There were three Republicans for it the other day. I know of four now."

House Assistant Majority Whip Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, who has been pressing for coverage for children with autism, pointedly disagreed with Waddoups’ appraisal.

"He doesn’t count well. There’s a lot more than that," she said. "He may be surprised."

Waddoups said he is among those opposing the bill. Even though it is only a two-year pilot program, he said, it could set a precedent for such coverage.

"I think it creates an expectation the state won’t be able to fund after about three years," Waddoups said. "I think the demand there would be so strong."

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said the House feels strongly that the autism program needs to pass. The funding for the program has been allocated, but the bill to create the pilot project is awaiting action in the Senate.


story continues below
story continues below

"We feel it’s a good answer to begin to address some of those significant issues for so many families in Utah without having a mandate," said Lockhart. "We hope the Senate will agree with us on that and move that bill forward."

The Senate is also balking at a roads package that the House has approved, believing it would make it impossible to pay down the state’s existing debt burden. Senators are also pushing to have more money socked away as Rainy Day Funds, essentially a state savings account, which has been diminished from $420 million to $230 million during the recession.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.