President Barrack Obama’s Positions and Actions Regarding Autism and Related Disabilities

• Last September President Obama signed the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act which provides for $231 million annually through 2014 to fund everything from autism research to prevalence tracking, education, early identification and intervention programs. Despite strong bipartisan support, the law’s fate remained uncertain as a group of Republican se
nators had placed a hold on the measure, before abruptly agreeing to allow the bill to be voted on.

• Through the Affordable Care Act insurance plans are required to cover autism screenings and developmental assessments for children at no additional cost. And on April 2, 2012, President Obama proclaimed World Autism Awareness Day 2012 to encourage Americans across the country to educate themselves and learn how they can support individuals and families dealing with autism. The ACA ends discrimination on the basis of pre-existing condition and bans caps on lifetime benefits.

• The
ACA, starting in 2014, bars insurance companies from discrimination on the basis of medical history or genetic information.

• The ACA advances community living by extending the Money Follows the Person program, improving the Medicaid home-and-community-based services (HCBS) option.

• The ACA establishes the Community First Choice Option covering community-based attendant services and supports to help Medicaid beneficiaries with daily activities and health-related tasks.

• The ACA enhances health care delivery by establishing standards for medical diagnostic equipment so people with disabilities can access vital preventative care. 

President Obama also supports expanded funding and increased enforcement for programs like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that ensure all Americans have access to the tools to succeed.

Education and IDEA: Under the President’s direction, the U.S. Department of Education allocated more than $19.9 million in grants to help prepare education personnel to improve services and results for childr
en with autism and other disabilities. President Obama celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

International Issues: Under President Obama’s leadership, the U.S. signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adding America to the then list of 141 countries signing the first new human rights treaty of the 21st Century.

The President issued an Executive Order repealing the Bush Administration’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research which can play a major role in identifying future targets for repairing or replacing dysfunctional brain tissue associated with autism.

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