My friend Jeremy Hilton just wrote a compelling piece on the effects the sequestration would have on our nation’s military. I am inclined to agree with him wholeheartedly. The largest part of the cuts will come from the defense budget with the swiftness of a guillotine blade, slashing this and that without any concern for the affect such cuts would have. I am fearful for the needed benefits that service people have that access programs like ECHO, The Demo, Respite and others – who literally could lose everything as a family if these badly relied upon services were eliminate. Please read the article and reach out to your representatives to tell them NO on sequestration!
This is a call to action for all military men and women, the veterans that came before them, and the families that support them both.
On January 2, 2013, the automatic spending cuts written into the Budget Control Act of 2011 (otherwise known as sequestration) will go into effect, amounting to an additional $500 billion in cuts to the defense budget. Sequestration poses an immediate and direct threat to both our nation’s defenses and the people who provide for that defense.
Sequestration would create significant readiness issues, reducing the force by tens of thousands of personnel, freezing compensation, reducing healthcare, and eliminating important family support programs. At an absolutely critical juncture, sequestration has the potential to decimate the all-volunteer force, all because politicians do not want to compromise or make hard decisions.
We understand the sacrifice required of our entire nation in order to reduce our overall deficit and debt. However, this sacrifice should be shared by all. Our nation’s debts should not be primarily laid on the shoulders of those who have already given so much.
The Department of Defense’s leadership has been constantly pushing Congress to take steps to avoid sequestration. Here is but one example:… click on link above to read the rest of the article.
I just got a chance to watch the testimony given last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the current state of servicemember’s ability to receive special needs care, and in particular, ABA for autistic dependents.
The testimony provided by this excellent panel to include senior members of Tricare, Office if Special Needs, Jeremy Hilton (2012 Military Spouse of the Year and outstanding advocate for military special needs families), Dr. Geri Dawson from Autism Speaks and others. This is well worth the watch if you are a service member utilizing Tricare, ECHO, and the Demonstration project for your child with autism.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has come up with a pretty good resource on a website called Military Homefront.
According to the DoD,
Military Homefront is the Department of Defense website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information, policy and guidance designed to help troops and their families, leaders, and service providers. Whether you live the military lifestyle or support those who do, you’ll find what you need.
There is a section devoted to the military special needs community and the program that drives the benefits and service under the DoD’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The link here, or the one on the right side of the page, is a shortcut to a tool provided called the EFMP Toolbox. Procedures on how to enroll, links and other useful information relating to the EFMP can be found here.
Pathways in Autism is a firm supporter of this legislation. This is legislation that has been introduced to make changes to Tricare to remove limits on coverage amount of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as well as provide coverage for the autistic dependents of military retirees.
Please check out details of the act here and to read about this military parent and advocates fantastic efforts to rally awareness and support around this bill.
Although it is certainly a challenging time to introduce legislation that would increase Tricare expenses in the short term when everything that is currently being discussed in our federal government as well as the DoD is where cuts can be made. The argument can truly be made that increase levels of benefits (which would provide greater amounts of scientifically-proven methods of treatment like ABA_ for treatment of autism early in the life development cycle will decrease the long-term need for similar costly benefits in the latter years of the life development cycle. This is, ultimately, a long-term cost-savings initiative. Click here to see how this is actively playing out in the private sector in Michigan (a former state we live in!).
There is much discussion about decreases in military pay, retirement benefits and cutting many benefits across the board. The lifetime sacrifices that military service members make for their country, especially those with the immense extra burden in life with having to care for a child with autism is something that cannot be ignored.
Sometimes the different between ordinary and extraordinary is just a little “extra”. This bill, if voted into law, would provide just that extra push for those currently receiving a portion of adequate care and for those retirees’ dependents who may in fact be going with out any treatment at all.
Please write your federal representatives to encourage their support at this crucial time.