Autism Speaks is going on the offense as one state considers taking away a requirement that health insurers cover autism treatment.

A bill under consideration in Arizona would strip all of the state’s 32 health insurance requirements, including one mandating autism coverage.

In response, Autism Speaks is saturating the Phoenix, Ariz. television market with commercials this week urging residents to call on the state’s Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill.

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“If this legislation becomes law, many families will face impossible decisions — from taking out second and third mortgages to emptying siblings’ college funds — to provide their children with treatments,” said Peter Bell, executive vice president at Autism Speaks, which has heavily lobbied for autism insurance mandates.

Supporters of the legislation, however, told local media that lifting requirements does not mean that insurers will scale back coverage. Moreover, they say it will increase competition and help lower costs.

Currently, under legislation that went into effect in 2008, Arizona requires health insurers to provide up to $50,000 worth of applied behavior analysis for children with autism up to age 9 and $25,000 per year in therapy for older kids.

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