by Jonathan Slack
Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) helps children on the autism spectrum reach their potential, especially when they receive ABA therapy at an early age. Until recently, Medicaid in Nebraska did not cover ABA therapy for autism or any other developmental disability. However, last week District Judge John Colborn ruled that Nebraska’s policy of excluding Medicaid coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis was illegal. In essence he ruled that the state could not have a policy that provided a medically necessary treatment to some people while denying it to others based solely on their diagnosis. Nebraska’s Medicaid program either has to deny Applied Behavioral Analysis to everyone, or it has to provide it to everyone regardless of their diagnosis as long as a doctor deems it medically necessary. Nebraska still has a little under a month to file an appeal. Hopefully, this ruling will pave the way for challenging other state’s Medicaid programs.