Today, Congressman John B. Larson and Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) announced the passage of a National Defense Authorization Act amendment that would require TRICARE, the military healthcare program, to ensure access to behavioral treatments for military families who have children with development disabilities. The measure is nearly identical to legislation Larson and Rooney introduced (The Caring for Military Children with Developmental Disabilities Act) which has received wide support from military, veteran and disability advocacy groups.
“The House stood up for military families today- moving us one step closer to ensuring that children with developmental disabilities covered by TRICARE have access to the care they deserve,” said Larson. “The bottom line is that this is the right thing to do. I want to thank my colleague Tom Rooney whose steadfast work on this issue on behalf of military families across the nation has been integral in moving this forward. We must be doing everything we can to ensure that those who have sacrificed so much for our nation have the peace of mind that their children will be able to access the care they need. Passage of this amendment moves us one step closer and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure it is signed into law.
“Families across the country face incredible challenges in raising children with development disabilities,” said Rooney. “I’ve seen this firsthand with my two nephews. For our military families, these challenges can be particularly daunting. Passing this amendment helps ensure that the children of our troops and military retirees have access to the health care services they need.”
Despite proven effectiveness in helping children with developmental disabilities, families must navigate a patchwork of different policies, all with eligibility and coverage limitations, within TRICARE that allow access to a behavioral health treatment known as applied behavior analysis (ABA). Larson has joined Rooney in introducing a number of measures to expand access under TRICARE to behavioral health treatment, including ABA, for military families, including legislation earlier this month and the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (H.R. 2288) in the 112th Congress.