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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 25,015
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 23, 2018 Kelly Shanks
May 22, 2018 Aliyah Khan
May 18, 2018 Heidi Steffy
May 18, 2018 Kate Conrad
May 18, 2018 Donna Selquist
May 15, 2018 Kathy Huddleston
May 10, 2018 Nina Mason
May 8, 2018 suzanne caruso
May 8, 2018 Sara Vilhena
May 6, 2018 Brian Kelly
May 2, 2018 Jo Johnson
May 2, 2018 Stephanie Ayan
May 1, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Apr 30, 2018 Sharon Kavanaugh
Apr 29, 2018 Barb Quinn
Apr 28, 2018 Fran Lowell
Apr 19, 2018 Samantha Wilson
Apr 18, 2018 Amy Weise
Apr 18, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Apr 17, 2018 Karen McMurray
Apr 16, 2018 Ginger Gorum
Apr 16, 2018 Kathleen Drury Healthcare is a human right, including and especially for children
Apr 16, 2018 Angela Tafoya
Apr 16, 2018 Nickie Farkas
Apr 16, 2018 Dana Sharbrough
Apr 16, 2018 Christine Maidl
Apr 16, 2018 Al Moorhouse
Apr 16, 2018 Lynne Lerner
Apr 16, 2018 M Joan Hutton
Apr 16, 2018 Beverly Brzycki
Apr 16, 2018 Arlene Kinner
Apr 16, 2018 Lois Shubert Military health care is a priority, fix it immediately.
Apr 16, 2018 Sharon Huston
Apr 16, 2018 Patti Bailley
Apr 16, 2018 Kimberly Ann
Apr 16, 2018 Glennda Campbell
Apr 16, 2018 Naomi Klass
Apr 16, 2018 Rita Prell
Apr 16, 2018 Deanna Creech
Apr 16, 2018 Donna Selquist
Apr 16, 2018 Gail Matteo
Apr 16, 2018 KATHY ADLAM Military families go through SO MUCH trauma, especially when it involves moving with children. With the small amount that they are paid, they deserve full benefits, just like CONGRESS.
Apr 16, 2018 Rose Hayes
Apr 16, 2018 corine colt
Apr 16, 2018 Teresa Kemp
Apr 16, 2018 Ann Bicking
Apr 16, 2018 Lynne Atherton-Dat Health is health and children are children. Children with autism and families dealing with it need comprehensive care as with any medical condition. ABA coverage is absolutely necessary for these children.
Apr 16, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Apr 16, 2018 Ed Zehel

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