Health care initiatives signed into law

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Joseph Crisco
Joseph Crisco

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law this week two bills that were among the priorities of state Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-17) this past session.

The laws expand biomedical research funds to cover stroke research and extend health insurance coverage for those on the autism spectrum.

Connecticut’s Biomedical Research Fund was originally meant to supplement funding from the National Institutes of Health. Due to cuts at the federal level, Connecticut’s program has largely supplanted the federal grants, Crisco said in a press release.

“Researchers already know that several risk factors with regard to stroke include high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and tobacco use, each of which aligns perfectly with the original purpose of the Biomedical Research Fund,” said Crisco, co-chair of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee. “But the debilitating fallout from stroke depends on which part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, and for how long, so there’s a world of research still waiting to be done.”

The law to extend health insurance coverage for autism patients in Connecticut was prompted by a concern that some patients might lose their benefits based upon new diagnosis criteria expected imminently from the American Psychiatric Association, the release stated.

“Connecticut leads the nation providing for those with autism and their families; with this new law we underscore our long-term commitment to help the families of those afflicted with autism, especially children,” Crisco said. “This will provide families some measure of assurance that their coverage will continue no matter what revisions are made in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”