Larson Prods TRICARE To Get Moving on ABA Pilot Program

WASHINGTON, DC (February 21, 2013) -- Rep. John Larson (D-CT) urged the Department of Defense to act "promptly" on legislation he sponsored last year requiring TRICARE to establish a one-year pilot program providing ABA coverage to all military families.

Larson, joined by Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), made the request in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Autism Speaks commended the action and pledged again to closely monitor TRICARE's development and implementation of the pilot program.

“This program must be implemented promptly and given every opportunity to succeed,” said Congressman Larson. “As this program is developed, TRICARE must work with military families and subject matter experts who will help provide vital insight for ensuring that children are receiving appropriate access to care."

Larson and Jones introduced bipartisan legislation in the last Congress that would have required TRICARE to extend ABA benefits to all 23,000 military families caring for children with autism. The benefits have been limited to active duty members.

The proposal was later merged into The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 as a one-year pilot program that allows military children with autism to receive greater access to ABA. Larson and Autism Speaks have pledged to continue working with Congress for permanent coverage.