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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 15,218
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

Jan 29, 2015 Elda Rasero
Jan 29, 2015 Cristina Economides
Jan 29, 2015 Michael Scott
Jan 29, 2015 Donna Ham
Jan 29, 2015 Rebeka Valovicova
Jan 29, 2015 karen howard
Jan 29, 2015 Vanessa Beyers
Jan 29, 2015 patsy bunch Me are my husband nerever got any thing before he died from liver cancer due to ao I have fought and I don't get anything
Jan 29, 2015 Paula Beres
Jan 29, 2015 Leigh Campbell
Jan 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 29, 2015 Regina Cartwright
Jan 29, 2015 MARY BRADY
Jan 29, 2015 Renae Carr With more and more kids being diagnosed with Autism, families HAVE to be covered thru their insurance. Our kids are our future. Without therapy, our kids won't thrive.
Jan 29, 2015 Gill LeMonde
Jan 29, 2015 Lee Ann DeMars
Jan 29, 2015 December Oglesby
Jan 29, 2015 Margaret Mc vay
Jan 29, 2015 kc Arnold
Jan 29, 2015 Gwen Piekarz
Jan 29, 2015 Robert Garnett
Jan 29, 2015 Joey Stevenson
Jan 29, 2015 Lill-Jeanette Sunde
Jan 29, 2015 James Tyree II
Jan 29, 2015 Lori Perkins
Jan 29, 2015 Cheryl McKinney
Jan 29, 2015 adriana perez
Jan 29, 2015 jeff mckelvey
Jan 29, 2015 Paul Jenkins
Jan 29, 2015 Nathalie PASUTTO
Jan 29, 2015 Nancy Yarosis
Jan 29, 2015 john durkin
Jan 29, 2015 m.cecilia d
Jan 29, 2015 Lourdes Roman
Jan 29, 2015 (Name not displayed) I want medical coverage for autism therapy for all our American military families in place NOW. No more delay!
Jan 29, 2015 Priscilla Pride
Jan 29, 2015 Jeremy Nance
Jan 29, 2015 Susan Berry
Jan 29, 2015 Pat Hanson Give these men and women all the benefits they deserve. Stop giving all the benefits to those who do not serve and protect our country.
Jan 29, 2015 roger gaddis
Jan 29, 2015 Patricia Vitanzo These men and women are real life heroes, let's do the right thing and take care of them they way they take care of us. Praying for each and everyone of you.
Jan 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 29, 2015 gary Santee jr These soldiers put there life on the line for our freedom we have today! These brave soldiers deserve alot more benefits then they are given!
Jan 29, 2015 Bebe Walls ABA is necessary for military families with a member that is diagnosed with autism. This is a diagnosis, no different than a diagnosis of diabetes. It's a medical condition that requires treatment. Let's take care of our military. They take care of us!
Jan 29, 2015 Claudette Coffin
Jan 29, 2015 sharon williamson
Jan 29, 2015 Sharon Rivera Do the right thing for our military men and women. They deserve that and a lot more from this country they protect.
Jan 29, 2015 Chriss Karstetter
Jan 29, 2015 alice cox

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