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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 17,538
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

Nov 25, 2015 Elise Buffie
Nov 25, 2015 Martha Kubik
Nov 24, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 24, 2015 Tammy Moro
Nov 24, 2015 Rita Gebauer
Nov 24, 2015 Carole Kubik
Nov 24, 2015 teresa stiffler Health insurance needs to start covering what we choose it to cover especially for our VETS. They should give them a card to go to any hospital for anything!
Nov 24, 2015 Stephanie Whitney
Nov 23, 2015 Rebecca Carr Give our military the coverage needed for autistic children.
Nov 20, 2015 Aleix Gonzalez
Nov 20, 2015 Chanel Mone
Nov 19, 2015 Barbara McClelland
Nov 18, 2015 Lauren Nelson
Nov 17, 2015 Nora Schumacher
Nov 17, 2015 Katherine Loerch
Nov 16, 2015 jenny fontenot
Nov 16, 2015 Cecelia Ferrufino
Nov 16, 2015 (Name not displayed) Far too many military families bear burdens that we, as a nation, have taken an oath to share. Please help our families with children on the autism spectrum.
Nov 15, 2015 Marie Hemphill
Nov 14, 2015 Carol Fischer
Nov 14, 2015 Joyce Gagliardi
Nov 13, 2015 Scott j
Nov 13, 2015 Dayna Slinglanda
Nov 12, 2015 Federico Barbera
Nov 12, 2015 Christine Riddle The service members give so much for this country. Give them this service.
Nov 12, 2015 Larry McDaniel
Nov 12, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 12, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 12, 2015 Charles Pan
Nov 12, 2015 Carmela Mazzariello
Nov 11, 2015 Victoria Peyser
Nov 11, 2015 Minette Yap
Nov 11, 2015 kathy & judy sutter help military families
Nov 11, 2015 Marty Lou Pina
Nov 11, 2015 Maryann Almeida
Nov 10, 2015 Joe C.
Nov 10, 2015 Pat A.
Nov 10, 2015 margaret Jensen
Nov 9, 2015 (Name not displayed) Hey DOD: Even an experimental treatment for autism is 100x more justifiable than your funding of NFL events with my tax dollars. Don't nickel-and-dime the autistic kids. Their parents work for a living.
Nov 8, 2015 sylvia manzano
Nov 8, 2015 Nicole McRee
Nov 7, 2015 Jennifer Annable
Nov 6, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 6, 2015 (Name not displayed) We ask so much of our servicemen and women and then we refuse to provide them services. This is just wrong.
Nov 5, 2015 Anna Rocks
Nov 5, 2015 Kevin Rocks
Nov 5, 2015 Deanna Balentine .
Nov 4, 2015 Alexandra Joya
Nov 4, 2015 Jayne Burdick
Nov 2, 2015 Wendy Naborre

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