Australia lags USA health sector on autism/ASD

Submitted by bobb on Wed, 1/10/2014 - 10:16

For children with autism/ASD, Australia lags far behind the USA. Australians like to think their health system is superior to the US health system ... but not so for the growing number of children diagnosed with ASD in Australia.

The US Government made it clear that US "states must cover all medically necessary services for children, including services to address ASD" (see 

The US Government does not "mandate" ABA ... it says

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one treatment modality for ASD. CMS is not  endorsing or requiring any particular treatment modality for ASD. State Medicaid agencies are responsible for determining what services are medically necessary for eligible individuals. States are expected to adhere to long-standing EPSDT obligations for individuals from birth to age 21, including providing medically necessary services available for the treatment of ASD.

The US Government differs from the Australian Government. While the Australian Government advises that children with ASD need extensive "intensive ASD-specific early intervention", the reality is that the NDIA, which has responsibility for funding disability-related Early Intervention, rejects overwhelming evidence (see

Government in Australia also lags behind US Governments where most states legislate to ensure private health insurance covers/funds "medically necessary" treatment and and rehabilitation (these are Rights described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) including treatment (Early Intervention) for autism/ASD. Strong results in the US private health insurance sector shows that the cost of treatment for autism is bankrupting the sector.

Few Australian families can afford to fund both the Australian health insurance system as well as their own child's individual early intervention ... they cannot pay for intensive early intervention on their own, so many children with ASD miss out on services that are "medically necessary" for them. This is poor Government policy; the cost to the community over a life-time is enormous.