Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan. The advocacy team has been busy lately working on healthcare, education, drug development in autism and appropriations.
Last week Congress passed a spending package for Fiscal Year 2017. The package includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, a priority for Autism Speaks, delivering on the promise of the 21st Century Cures Act which passed last Congress. Increased funding for the National Institutes of Health will advance our understanding of autism. It is part of our commitment to be a catalyst for research breakthroughs. Further to this end, Autism Speaks helped support the first meeting held by the FDA on patient-focused drug development for autism with parents of children with autism and individuals on the autism spectrum.
On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act. The bill now moves to the Senate. The advocacy team has focused on concerns we have with changes the bill would make to Medicaid, the single most important insurance program for people on the spectrum. Please contact your Senators here and encourage them to make Medicaid work for people with autism.
Finally, we are committed to increasing early and timely access to school-based interventions and improving the transition to adulthood. US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with members of the autism community to learn about the diverse needs of those with autism. We hope this is the first step towards an ongoing commitment to students with disabilities and are appreciative of Secretary Devos’s interest.
Thank you for your support of Autism Speaks advocacy.