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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 24,121
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

Aug 22, 2017 Melanie Spires
Aug 18, 2017 Mary Ware
Aug 18, 2017 Mario Caguimbal
Aug 16, 2017 Terry Lowe
Aug 7, 2017 Dawn Shock
Aug 7, 2017 danielle jacques
Aug 6, 2017 Michael Downs
Aug 3, 2017 Corinne Kissell
Aug 3, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2017 Debbie Barabe
Jul 31, 2017 Susan Haberlin Let's support our vets and their families. Give them the coverage they need.
Jul 31, 2017 Susan Whitsell
Jul 31, 2017 Susan Rubin
Jul 31, 2017 Bonnie Rotz
Jul 31, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2017 Janis Westendorf
Jul 31, 2017 Patricia Magilton Any US citizen who served in the military should NEVER have to worry about health care. It is the government's responsibility to provide care for those who served
Jul 31, 2017 Leslie Evans This abominable and antiquated thinking must change. If it were your family, I am quite sure it would have already changed.
Jul 31, 2017 laurel rugen
Jul 31, 2017 (Name not displayed) TRICARE should cover this treatment!
Jul 31, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2017 Erik Bjarnar
Jul 31, 2017 Dona Fong
Jul 31, 2017 Margaret Wilson God Bless our Military and their families, in whatever capacity they serve. We certainly owe them.
Jul 31, 2017 Raphael Levavy
Jul 31, 2017 Jackie Muzio
Jul 31, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2017 Carol Rue
Jul 31, 2017 MARY WALTON
Jul 31, 2017 Victoria Parshall I can't speak to specific treatments - but ... help in all forms needs to be provided for our military families.
Jul 31, 2017 CeCe Fuhrman
Jul 31, 2017 Carol and Jo Ellen Wade-Diamond Our military families deserve the BEST healthcare. Embrace all best care options for them as you would for your own family!
Jul 31, 2017 David Rossi
Jul 31, 2017 Allison Elliott
Jul 31, 2017 Stephen Wilde
Jul 31, 2017 Laura Aldridge
Jul 31, 2017 oksanna fallon
Jul 31, 2017 Evelyne MIRASSOU
Jul 31, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2017 Pat Newman They are at least as worthy of our care as every illegal in the country.....Give them what they need and what they deserve....
Jul 31, 2017 Kirsten Brabrand In Denmark Healthcare is FREE!
Jul 31, 2017 T. Fitzgerald
Jul 31, 2017 Fern Swecker
Jul 30, 2017 Karen Van Tuyle
Jul 30, 2017 Mónica Geraldo
Jul 30, 2017 Sharon gooding
Jul 30, 2017 Barbara Szantai
Jul 29, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 28, 2017 Carol Huddlestun

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