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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 23,950
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

Jun 19, 2017 Lisa Selby
Jun 19, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 15, 2017 Tracy McClane
Jun 14, 2017 tammy bullock
Jun 12, 2017 Dottie Weirich
Jun 10, 2017 Carol Baker
Jun 10, 2017 ruth kern
Jun 7, 2017 James Deschene
Jun 6, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 6, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 5, 2017 Ann Marie Teder
Jun 5, 2017 Lisa Sommer
Jun 5, 2017 Mario Forchelli
Jun 5, 2017 Kathleen Forchelli
Jun 5, 2017 Robin L Lane
Jun 5, 2017 Dale Ferguson
Jun 5, 2017 Jacob Yoss
Jun 5, 2017 Robin Sellers
Jun 5, 2017 Beth Jones, expat from Iowa This expat who works in Europe, & therefore has 100% medical coverage, demands the same thing for my fellow citizens. Single Payer NOW! Dump Chump and the GOP's Don't Care Act.
Jun 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 5, 2017 Hewlett Appelbaum
Jun 5, 2017 Larry Branson ABSOLUTELY A OBLIGATION.
Jun 5, 2017 Ellen Walker
Jun 5, 2017 Beth Smith
Jun 5, 2017 Nancy Heard
Jun 5, 2017 Diana Washburn
Jun 5, 2017 Kate Pruden
Jun 5, 2017 Sharon Heitz
Jun 5, 2017 Kevin Branstetter
Jun 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 5, 2017 Kenneth Horowitz
Jun 5, 2017 Judy Williams
Jun 5, 2017 Angela Principato
Jun 5, 2017 Lisa Seeley
Jun 5, 2017 Joy Smiley
Jun 4, 2017 Gabi Sorrell
Jun 2, 2017 terri wentworth
Jun 1, 2017 Robert Morris
Jun 1, 2017 Marybeth Castelli
May 29, 2017 Diane Boulais
May 23, 2017 Marnie Neely
May 23, 2017 Samantha Honowitz
May 22, 2017 Gloria Jones
May 21, 2017 John Davis
May 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 20, 2017 Geraldine Rondeau
May 20, 2017 Shirley Troia
May 18, 2017 Gordon Levy
May 17, 2017 Greg Werlinger

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