Combating Autism Reauthorization ACT (CARA)
Written by the President and COO of Autism Society
The Autism Society is pleased to report that the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) passed in the Senate last night. The bill now goes to the President, who has already indicated he would sign it into law.
CARA is very important legislation as it helps many living with autism by funding research, training and education. But it does not accomplish everything that needs to be done to help all those living with autism. We must do more.
As we celebrate today, we must address a critical concern with the bill. The re-authorization continues the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a federal advisory committee that serves as a key coordinating body for delivery of services and addressing autism research efforts. The Autism Society does not currently have a seat at this table. With government funding reduced, the need for the Autism Society, the largest grassroots organization helping families today, has never been as critical. The Autism Society continues to work with lawmakers and the President’s staff to secure our seat at this table, as well as representation for our partner autism organizations.
With CARA passed, the Autism Society is setting its sights on reforming Medicaid. We need to ensure that valued Medicaid service funding provided to so many through state waivers is properly addressed in the current deficit reduction committee deliberations. Already, lobbyists are lining up to advocate for continued funding of various Medicaid efforts, which have been found not to be nearly as effective as the important in-home and community services provided by states through the Medicaid waiver. Without the Autism Society’s involvement in this discussion, we fear the voices of those needing Medicaid services will not be heard.
Our collective work on the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act shows the success we can have when grassroots autism advocates and groups such as the Autism Society, Autism Speaks, the ARC of the United States and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) work together to help all those living with autism.
Autism Society President and COO
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