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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 17,467
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

Oct 11, 2015 Lorelei Williams
Oct 10, 2015 (Name not displayed) Medical coverage is used as a recruiting enticement ; provide what you offer regardless of the illness.
Oct 10, 2015 Kristina Paul
Oct 10, 2015 Alex Wesolowski
Oct 9, 2015 Brianne Bell
Oct 9, 2015 (Name not displayed) Our military deserves EVERY imaginable support we can provide! If they need it, no matter what IT is, they earn it every day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 9, 2015 Cheryl Kallenbach Have you people gone off the deep end? These are our Service members - they deserve the very finest in medical care for both themselves and their families - and they haven't been getting it. In this case it's your fault and you need to correct it.
Oct 9, 2015 Terri Parker Just one more example of broken promises for our military and their families.
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) Hello, Yes anyone who fights for this country deserves there benefits.
Oct 8, 2015 Patrik Löfgren
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 7, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 7, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 6, 2015 kim kensinger
Oct 6, 2015 Daniel Driver
Oct 5, 2015 P Montgomery
Oct 5, 2015 Kathern Ziemer
Oct 5, 2015 l Lunde
Oct 5, 2015 Bonnie Camp
Oct 5, 2015 Barbara Whitener
Oct 4, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 4, 2015 Anne Johnson
Oct 4, 2015 william newton
Oct 3, 2015 Emma Menhinnitt
Oct 3, 2015 Cynthia Keith
Oct 3, 2015 Tommie Jones
Oct 2, 2015 Lora Brewer
Oct 1, 2015 Samantha Coryell
Oct 1, 2015 Susan mixon
Oct 1, 2015 Debra Humphrey
Sep 28, 2015 Brittany Deforest
Sep 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) Let's give our vet's the dignity and respect they deserve. Give them and their families the health care that is fitting and appropriate.
Sep 26, 2015 Yasiu Kruszynski
Sep 26, 2015 Matthew Leveillee
Sep 26, 2015 Lauren Barlow
Sep 26, 2015 mary peplinski
Sep 26, 2015 Diane Dellicker
Sep 26, 2015 Susan Karnesky
Sep 26, 2015 Mark Lungo
Sep 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) The military dangles healthcare and education to recruit members, but ALWAYS skip out and create huge obstacles for those to try to utilize the promised rewards. Since the American Revolution our soldiers have been ignored and minimized by government.
Sep 26, 2015 Kathy Marshall
Sep 26, 2015 Jennifer Grace
Sep 26, 2015 Cheri Alexander
Sep 26, 2015 Yvonne R Bechtold
Sep 26, 2015 Julie Minda
Sep 26, 2015 Anne Gebhardt Guv needs to help all parents with autistic kids. Without it there is little hope.
Sep 26, 2015 Deborah Golembiewski
Sep 26, 2015 Paul Zaroba
Sep 26, 2015 Bonni Fox

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