A lot has happened in the last month with the fight to change policy affecting military families and coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
The July 26 court decision forcing TRICARE to issue interim policy covering ABA under standard coverage, to include retirees, has led to a literal frenzy of confusion among parents, advocates and even TRICARE representative themselves. What is the true answer? How does it apply to you? A lot of speculation ensued.
Consider that before this occurred, the objective was a straight-forward, legislation-based solution: Congress passes the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act and includes it in the National Defense Authorization Act.
It seems as though those efforts are history and irrelevant. With great fanfare, the guns have seemed to go silent as families get the sense they have won the war by proxy of this lawsuit.
You see, DoD retains the option of appealing the case, which it has 60 days from the date of the decision to file.
If an appeal happens, there are no guarantees. Policy could revert to its previous form and the train could leave the station on previous legislative efforts that people like Rachel Kenyon, Karen Driscoll and Jeremy Hilton worked tirelessly to support and make happen.
We are at a time of opportunity. On May 17, the U.S. House of Representatives included CMKAA as an amendment into their version of the NDAA. There is currently no Senate version, though there is consideration to introduce one, if support is there.
Congress is currently in recess, but will be returning to Washington soon. Likely your senator or representative is back in his or her home office (if not at the national conventions).
Perhaps now is the time to consider visiting your Senator and their staff. Implore them to finish the job in the same way the House finished theirs, by supporting a possible amendment to the Senate NDAA. Tell them your story, how you are impacted and remind them of the sacrifices you have made.
If you can’t visit them, call their office, send an email, comment on their Facebook page or Tweet them. Visit CMKAA.org for some of these options and suggestions.
While the future of ABA and TRICARE policy is uncertain, finishing what was started with this legislative option might ensure that the benefit is for our families.