Autism insurance reform bill fails by one vote, could be re-heard Wednesday

BISMARCK, N.D. - A bill aimed at expanding health insurance coverage in North Dakota for therapy for children with autism failed by one vote in the house, though supporters say they hope it will be reconsidered Wednesday.

House Bill 1434 would expand insurance in North Dakota to cover what’s known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a type of therapy that helps children with autism learn how to perform day-to-day functions.

The bill received 47 ‘yes’ votes to 43 ‘no’ votes but failed to reach the 48-vote threshold to pass.

If a lawmaker who voted ‘no’ on the bill changes their mind within 24 hours, the bill could be reintroduced on the floor.

Earlier in the session, lawmakers resurrected and eventually passed a law aimed at repealing the state’s ‘blue laws’ having to do with operating hours on Sundays, after the bill was initially rejected.

North Dakota is one of five states in the country without the mandated insurance.