Amalia K. Corby-Edwards Analyst in Public Health and Epidemiology
spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are general terms for a group of developmental disabilities
that cause impairments in social skills and communication, and are often
characterized by certain atypical behaviors. The federal government has a
role in the financing (through Medicaid and State Children’s Health
Insurance Programs) and delivery (through funding of developmental
disabilities programming in schools, Title V Maternal and Child Health funding, and
other sources) of treatment for ASD. The number of autism cases and their
appropriate diagnosis and treatment affect federal and state expenditures.
As such, Congress has shown interest in financing research on ASD
prevalence, causes, and optimal treatment for individuals with ASD.
On September 26, 2011, the 112th Congress
passed the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA, P.L. 112-32), which
reauthorized funding for autism research authorized under the Combating
Autism Act of 2006 (CAA, P.L. 109-416). The CAA was enacted to address public and
congressional concern with growing rates of autism; to increase existing autism
research funding authorizations; and to stimulate state-level coordination
of health, education, and disability programs. The CAA authorizes funding
for ASD surveillance, research, and education at the Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS), at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the
National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The CAA authorizes funding for CDC to administer a grant program for states and
other entities to conduct surveillance on ASD and developmental
disabilities, and to establish regional centers of excellence in ASD
epidemiology. The CAA also authorizes funding for HRSA to support autism
education, intervention, and early detection. NIH is authorized under the CAA
to conduct and fund basic scientific research on autism and other
developmental disabilities. In addition, NIH is tasked with the
coordination of all research, screening, intervention, and education efforts through
the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.
The Combating Autism Act authorized appropriations for these activities from
FY2007 through FY2011. The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011
extends authorizations of appropriations at FY2011 levels for FY2012
through FY2014. Funding for research authorized by CARA is discretionary
and subject to the annual appropriations process. Full-year appropriations for
FY2013 have yet to be enacted. However, a six-month government-wide continuing resolution
(CR) was signed into law on September 28, 2012 (P.L. 112-175), which generally maintained
funding for discretionary programs at their FY2012 levels, increased by 0.612%.
This report presents an overview of the CAA and CARA, HHS funding and
activities under the CAA and CARA for FY2007 through FY2013, other federal
activities related to autism, and selected issues for Congress.
Date of Report: December 27, 2012
Number of Pages: 16 Order Number: R42369 Price: $29.95
For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card
number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail
or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.