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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 23,906
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 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
May 17, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 14, 2017 S. Lazer
May 9, 2017 Steven Schueller
May 9, 2017 (Name not displayed) These military people deserve to be helped to the greatest degree possible. We need to help them out.
May 9, 2017 Victoria Sola
May 9, 2017 Virginia Baksa
May 9, 2017 Debbie Barabe
May 9, 2017 Diana Noel-Labieniec
May 9, 2017 Katie Drew
May 9, 2017 Suzanne Westgaard These military people deserve to be helped to the greatest degree possible.
May 9, 2017 Linda Wright
May 9, 2017 Leslie shellberg
May 9, 2017 Jeane Casey
May 9, 2017 Regina Milione
May 9, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 9, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 9, 2017 Pat Souders TSgt USAF retired since 1972
May 9, 2017 Lynn Greene
May 9, 2017 Emily Dickinson-Adams
May 9, 2017 Elaina Ozeroff
May 9, 2017 Rodford Smith
May 9, 2017 Mildred Huffmire
May 9, 2017 Hope Carr
May 9, 2017 Jennifer Pinkston
May 9, 2017 Thomas Washburn, M.D.
May 9, 2017 Patricia Copenhaver
May 9, 2017 Kathy Murdock Take care of our Military!
May 9, 2017 Christopher Lake
May 9, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 9, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 9, 2017 Leslie Davis
May 9, 2017 Nancy Lopez For veterans, it seems like the sacrifices just keep coming. It is time to provide for these families who give so much.
May 9, 2017 Patricia Moorehead
May 9, 2017 Meg Little Please stop being a politician and return to being a physician; not just a Dr. in the social context of the word. There are discoveries and therapies that are proven daily to treat what has become a myriad of conditions that WORK. Stop Politicing.
May 9, 2017 Janet Blocker If our military is so great, why are they denying care for autism that can help those children & military families who need that help and financial assistance?
May 9, 2017 Lori Cramer Our military deserves the best this country has to offer. They gave and continue to give their best for us.
May 9, 2017 Jackie Muzio
May 9, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 9, 2017 Sandrine STAMM
May 9, 2017 Stella Stephens
May 9, 2017 Baylee Markwell
May 9, 2017 Ron Poulin
May 9, 2017 holly cormier
May 7, 2017 Maria Mendez Diaz

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