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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 24,168
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

Sep 22, 2017 Carol Kelling
Sep 22, 2017 Rilla Heslin
Sep 21, 2017 Gayle Goedhart
Sep 19, 2017 Iryna Andreychuk
Sep 18, 2017 Susan Wagner
Sep 17, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2017 lynne potts
Sep 15, 2017 Don Wiltsie
Sep 15, 2017 ANNETTE NAISH There are debts we as a country need to pay. Caring for our military families is one of those debts. Do not allow us to become a country which lies to people who go into harm's way on our behalf.
Sep 14, 2017 PATRICIA PUCKETT We as American have an obligation to take care of our veterans without any questions...
Sep 13, 2017 Arthur Sumrall
Sep 13, 2017 Brenda Goldman It is shameful that this needs to be petitioned. Our veterans laid down their lives. Came home physically and mentally injured. They should be cared for.
Sep 5, 2017 Carol Bostick
Sep 5, 2017 Laurie Aman
Sep 5, 2017 Janis Kindred
Sep 5, 2017 Kay Bethea
Sep 5, 2017 Ann Donat As a veteran and as the aunt of autistic children, it should be a no brainer to make the most effective treatment available to military and veteran families dealing with autism.
Sep 5, 2017 Colleen Kelly
Sep 5, 2017 joey walczak WE(all) service members deserve the best health care for all Vets active and retired and their families!!! We all promised our BEST to OUR COUNTRY. Our VAhealth care should do no less for all of us who sacrificed all. Some their lives others bodies and
Sep 5, 2017 Kay Beams
Sep 5, 2017 gail owensmith
Sep 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 5, 2017 Alanna Reuben
Sep 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 5, 2017 Roberta Moore We owe these children the help they deserve. It is not easy being a member of a service family & having autism makes it even harder.
Sep 5, 2017 Sue Ward
Sep 5, 2017 Nancy Catania
Sep 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 5, 2017 D. MOREU
Sep 5, 2017 R. MOREU
Sep 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 5, 2017 DeeDee Berkshire Berkshire
Sep 5, 2017 Inês Correia
Sep 5, 2017 JURAJ BOBOK
Sep 5, 2017 Nedra Saathoff
Sep 5, 2017 Patrick Manalio
Sep 5, 2017 Dayle Brown
Sep 5, 2017 Catherine Cohen
Sep 5, 2017 Karen Elliott
Sep 5, 2017 Barbara Hobbs
Sep 5, 2017 Rae Ann Kressin There should be no restrictions on Military health care. For the military or their families. Except for sex changes!
Sep 5, 2017 Janette Stodola
Sep 5, 2017 Claire Frii
Sep 5, 2017 Charlotte Dent
Sep 5, 2017 Sherrie Collins
Sep 5, 2017 Mark Lungo
Aug 23, 2017 Gil Hackel
Aug 22, 2017 Melanie Spires
Aug 18, 2017 Mary Ware
Aug 18, 2017 Mario Caguimbal

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