Don’t Cut Autism Care for Military Families

Autism_spectrum_infinity_awareness_symbol_by_Eric

Target: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

Goal: Do not cut payments to healthcare professionals who work with autistic children.

Thousands of military families with autistic children may soon lose access to sufficient healthcare coverage if a proposed plan by the Department of Defense is followed through. The proposal would cut payments to healthcare professionals who work with autistic children by 15 percent, and would have serious repercussions for the military children who rely on these professionals for treatment. The proposed payment cuts would bring the military’s compensation for autism specialists to 35 percent below the national average, and lower wages for these professionals would severely decrease the amount of patients they are able to treat.

The Pentagon originally proposed cutting autism payments in half in 2014, but did not follow through with the plan due to a backlash of criticism after a survey of healthcare professionals revealed how huge an effect it would have on military families. According to the survey, approximately 95 percent of healthcare professionals would have reduced autism services for military families, while others would have simply stopped working with these children altogether in order to manage the dramatic decrease in pay. Now, if the current plan is not stopped, this loss of coverage for military children could become a reality.

The Department of Defense is denying that the payment cuts will have any negative effect on military families, but the evidence shows otherwise. The proposal is already receiving criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and it must be made clear to the Pentagon that it is unacceptable to risk taking away autism therapy from thousands of military families. Sign the petition below to demand that the proposal is dropped, and ensure that military families with children who suffer from autism are able to keep their healthcare coverage.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Carter,

The proposed plan to cut payments to healthcare professionals who work with autistic children must be dropped. Cutting autism payments by 15 percent would have serious repercussions for military families with children who suffer from autism, as it would bring the military’s autism compensation to 35 percent below the national average. Lower wages for healthcare professionals would decrease the amount of patients they are able to treat, and it is more than likely that this would dramatically reduce autism services for military families.

The proposal to cut autism payments is already receiving backlash from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and these senators have raised valuable concerns that must be considered before moving forward. I am urging you to reconsider the effect that these proposed payment cuts would have on military families with autistic children. Please take action to keep providing healthcare professionals with the compensation they need, and ensure that military children continue to receive sufficient healthcare coverage.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Eric

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