Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
Goal: 25,000 Progress: 21,419
Sponsored by: The Veterans Site

For years the Department of Defense (DoD) has refused to acknowledge the validity of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. With over 23,000 military dependents living on the spectrum, this means restricted access to the most valuable treatment currently available. Already burdened by the constant moving and social turmoil of military life, families must also pay out of pocket for this costly yet vital therapy.

Rather than embrace change, the military's primary health care program, TRICARE, has imposed a series of even more restrictive guidelines, all while DoD lawyers continue to argue against covering ABA, citing "a lack of evidence of effectiveness." Medical professionals and organizations agree, however, that ABA is the most effective treatment available, helping those with autism lead happy and productive lives. Children tend to respond best to the therapy at a younger age, so as the DoD stalls and delays, families are losing precious time to help their loved ones.

With the world's largest, best-equipped, and best-financed military, such practices are unacceptable. An effective military starts with the people. Let's give military families the benefits they have earned.

Sign Here

Dear Dr. Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs:

As the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense of matters of health, you have an obligation to keep our nation's military healthy.

And you are failing.

For years the Department of Defense has refused to acknowledge the valuable service provided by Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. Medical consensus depicts ABA as the gold standard of autism therapies, yet TRICARE provides inadequate coverage and imposes unreasonable bureaucratic obstacles, leaving military families to incur debt trying to cover the costly yet necessary treatment.

It is time to live up to your obligation. The DoD should immediately:

  1. Recognize ABA as a "medical therapy." Current TRICARE policy labels ABA as "educational intervention" and places restrictive caps on who can receive benefits and how much they can receive. Even the federal courts recognized the misnomer, calling TRICARE's designation "arbitrary and capricious." Words matter.
  2. Fulfill the congressional mandate for a pilot program. The late-2012 order from Congress would establish a model for the future while providing immediate relief for the nation's veterans and their families. Several months overdue, the pilot should be launched immediately with clear and concise communication to the families affected.
  3. Reverse ABA cutbacks. The recently announced changes to ABA policy impose impractical obstacles to proper treatment and, given the timing of the changes, demonstrate an unwillingness to work with the families who are only seeking access to the benefits they earned.

The health and well-being of military families has a direct impact on military readiness. By continuing to stall on this matter, the DoD not only betrays the nation's military, but also puts the nation at risk.

Please do the right thing.

Petition Signatures

May 25, 2016 Deborah Lombardi
May 25, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 22, 2016 Aggelina Ornstein
May 22, 2016 Larry Andrews
May 20, 2016 Megan McMillen
May 18, 2016 (Name not displayed) My granddaughter was making amazing progress with her ABA therapist when she was taken away from her because the institution said that Tricare would not cover for an advanced ABA therapist. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch her needs go unmet.
May 17, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 15, 2016 brenda maki
May 14, 2016 Lynn Brophy
May 14, 2016 Mitzi Combs
May 12, 2016 Zoé Michaud-Desgagné
May 12, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 11, 2016 Christina Schaffer
May 11, 2016 Ronald Yeoh
May 10, 2016 Sladjana Perisic
May 9, 2016 casey muhs
May 7, 2016 aga ciesla
May 7, 2016 Matt Macedo
May 7, 2016 Roshan Akula
May 6, 2016 Kathrin Küspert
May 6, 2016 Dianne McMillion
May 6, 2016 Christina Mcknight
May 4, 2016 Ruben Soto
May 3, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 2, 2016 Ashley Thomas
May 1, 2016 David Ibbotson
May 1, 2016 Shahin Nazerzade
May 1, 2016 Paola Frignani
May 1, 2016 Lynne Smithson
Apr 30, 2016 Sandy Young
Apr 30, 2016 Margherita Pinto
Apr 30, 2016 Rachelle Gervais Vasquez
Apr 29, 2016 Catherine Franco
Apr 28, 2016 juliana vargas
Apr 28, 2016 Donna Shellabarger
Apr 28, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 28, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 28, 2016 Christina Schrage
Apr 28, 2016 Madison Daniels
Apr 27, 2016 Marco Morales
Apr 27, 2016 Rosina Padilla
Apr 27, 2016 Alejandra Morales
Apr 27, 2016 Nicola Thomasson
Apr 26, 2016 Tamia Pettus
Apr 26, 2016 Pamela Anderson Please allow any & all coverage for children, families & military members that need to receive care for Autism. Thank you
Apr 26, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 25, 2016 Betty Bjornsen, Maj AFR Treatment needs to be started ASAP after recognition of the problem. It is hard to believe the government pays for Viagra but not to help those with ABA. It is a disgrace for the nation.
Apr 25, 2016 Penny Fleischman It's only fair. The members of Congress vote themselves better healthcare than they do for the people who risk their all for us. It's disgraceful.
Apr 25, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 25, 2016 Bill Frank

back to top

Share this page and help fund more meals: