WHAT IS GOING ON? The Michigan Legislature has expressed concerns regarding the Medicaid Autism Services line item in the FY 19 state budget as it represents a significant increase of $94 million over last year’s budget.  This increase is largely due to a mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services that all states must provide Medicaid Autism Services.  This mandate now requires access to Medicaid Autism services for children aged birth to 21 where prior to 2016, only children on Medicaid ages birth to 5 had access to medically necessary ABA services.  The proposed increase in cost is to cover treatment and service delivery to a population that previously did not have access to Medically necessary ABA.  Additionally, the proposed funding will help ensure that there are sufficient ABA practitioners to meet demand for Medicaid ABA services, to help reduce the backlog of close to 1,500 youth who are approved for services but awaiting access, and to support university programs to train ABA practitioners.

The availability of ABA therapy to individuals on Medicaid has been nothing short of life-changing.  ABA therapy helps children live a future of independence. It helps children avoid intense, residential services, keeping families united. It also helps children and youth achieve better academic, behavioral, and social outcomes in schools, as well as avoid more intense services later in life through early intervention.


  • As of February 28, 2018, there are 1,466 youth approved for ABA awaiting treatment, due in part to insufficient capacity of ABA providers.
  • Michigan currently has a total of 685 certified behavior analysts. Our state is estimated to need a minimum of 1,800 certified behavior analysts to ensure all children, youth, and young adults have access to the appropriate amount of treatment; hospitals, education systems, and workplace programs are adequately staffed to support behavioral needs; and universities are able to continue to train future practitioners.
  • If you are currently receiving ABA therapy funded by Medicaid, any budget reduction could affect your access to therapy or reduce the amount you are receiving.

WHO’S MAKING THE DECISION? Governor Snyder’s Executive Budget has proposed $199.8 million in Autism funding to address the expansion of access to treatment for children and young adults up to the age of 21.  It also contains funding for the recruitment and training of a sufficient number of ABA practitioners.  The Michigan Legislature has raised concerns about the increase in cost of Autism Services.  The House version of the FY 19 budget currently proposes a $40 million cut to Medicaid Autism Services.  It is vital to immediately contact key members of the House and Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations sub-committees below and let them know about the importance and successes of ABA therapy and the need to continue to cover Medicaid ABA services for children and young adults.

Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Chair – Senator MacGregor – 517-373-0797;

Vice Chair – Senator Marleau – 517-373-2417;

Minority Vice Chair – Senator Gregory – 517-373-7888;

House Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Chair – Rep. Canfield – 517-373-0476;

Vice Chair – Rep. Allor – (517) 373-0833;

Minority Vice Chair – Rep. Faris – (517) 373-7557;


Contact Your Representatives On This Issue