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Friday, March 11, 2016

TRICARE Petition

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families.  As many posts have discussed, the challenges are especially great for military families.
My son Jaxon has autism. We suspected it for the first year and a half of his life, but it wasn’t until a doctor confirmed our suspicions that we were finally able to start getting him the help he deserved. Much of that help came in the form of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, made available to us by our health care provider Tricare. The therapy’s effects were almost instantaneous: for almost (x) years, Jaxon had been nonverbal, unable to even tell us he loved us, but within months of starting ABA, he came out of his shell and, by four, he was a regular old chatterbox.
Without the help of Jaxon’s ABA therapists, we might never have heard his beautiful voice. We owe so much to them. And that’s why I am so disappointed to hear that Tricare is currently considering lowering pay rates for current and incoming Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists by up to 35%. This will drop their pay to below the national average for ABA therapists, and discourage providers from accepting Tricare patients.
Tricare tried something similar two years ago, but we started a petition and pushed back and won! We can do it again. Please join me in telling Tricare that ABA therapists and the children they help, deserve better. Tell them not to cut ABA therapists’ pay rates.
Tricare ABA therapists barely make a living wage as it is. If Tricare gets its way, ABA therapists will make even less, and soon, many will simply refuse to work through the Tricare system, especially if they can make more elsewhere. These are highly educated, extremely important health workers who will soon be unable to make ends meet.
These therapists enable non-verbal children to connect with their families, often for the first time. We cannot just stand by and allow this to happen to these selfless individuals who make such a difference in our lives. Please sign and share this petition. I owe so much to Jaxon’s therapists, and now I want to do what I can to give something back.
Please sign and ask Tricare not to cut the wages of the health workers that help autistic families.
Thank you.