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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 21,397
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 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
Apr 24, 2016 Toby Martinez We shouldn't have to fight for something we earned with our whole being. If we were in we deserve everything !!!!!
Apr 23, 2016 Rama srinivasan
Apr 23, 2016 Marianne Dineros
Apr 23, 2016 Susan Beam-Gilleland
Apr 23, 2016 Debra Jennings
Apr 23, 2016 Tura Walters
Apr 23, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 22, 2016 Karla Starkenberg
Apr 22, 2016 Roxanne Savage
Apr 22, 2016 Pauline Köhler
Apr 22, 2016 Sonia Sadowska
Apr 21, 2016 Shirley Tomlin
Apr 21, 2016 Jennifer Bartlett
Apr 21, 2016 Robin Isaman
Apr 21, 2016 Robin Brown
Apr 21, 2016 Lynne Gordon-Watson
Apr 21, 2016 Christina McKye
Apr 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 20, 2016 Sabrena Rickman
Apr 20, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 20, 2016 Mariana Tamarit

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