or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Letter to John Berry Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management - FEHBP to Cover ABA

Today, lawmakers from the DC Metro area sent a letter to Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry asking the agency to ensure Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) insurance providers cover applied behavior analysis (ABA), a therapy frequently used for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Signing onto the bipartisan letter are Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jim Moran (D-VA), Frank Wolf (R-VA), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

"We applaud the decision to reclassify ABA as a medical therapy covered under FEHBP. At the same time, we are disappointed that families in many areas around the country, including our own, are not benefiting from this decision," the lawmakers wrote. "All federal workers, not just a fortunate few, should have plans that cover ABA."

Beginning in 2012, FEHBP allows, but does not require, health plans to cover ABA. According to the organization Autism Speaks, only 67 state-specific plans offered ABA coverage for 2013 and the Washington Post has highlighted that no FEHBP plans in the National Capital Region cover ABA.

The lawmakers continued: "That is simply not acceptable for middle class federal employees that in all likelihood cannot access ABA outside of their insurance plans. We strongly urge your agency to work with local providers to ensure inclusion of ABA therapy in FEHBP for calendar year 2014."

Applied behavior analysis is an intervention known to significantly increase a child's IQ, language abilities, and daily living skills, while reducing the debilitating symptoms of autism. Scientific studies have demonstrated that early intervention through ABA can significantly improve the education outlook and life skills for children on the autism spectrum.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 88 children in the United States is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders before their eighth birthday. Boys are five times more likely as girls, with one in 54 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Full text of the letter below:

The Honorable John Berry
Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20415

Dear Director Berry:

As the congressional representatives for the National Capital Region, we write to respectfully request that you inform us of your plan to ensure federal employees have access to applied behavior analysis (ABA) through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).

As you know, autism spectrum disorders were once thought to be rare. New research has unequivocally determined that these disorders are now known to affect 1 in 88 children; some reports indicate an even higher rate in the Metro DC area.

In our area many of these children are insured through FEHBP. FEHBP allows, but does not require, health plans to cover ABA, an intervention we know significantly increases a child's intelligence quotient (IQ), language abilities, and daily living skills, while reducing the debilitating symptoms of autism. Scientific studies have demonstrated that early intervention through ABA can significantly improve the education outlook and life skills for children on the autism spectrum. The families of these children face great challenges in balancing work with the need to provide the intensive care these disorders demand.

We applaud the decision to reclassify ABA as a medical therapy covered under FEHBP. At the same time, we are disappointed that families in many areas around the country, including our own, are not benefiting from this decision. According to Autism Speaks, only 67 state-specific plans offered ABA coverage for 2013 and the Washington Post has highlighted that no FEHBP plans in the National Capital Region cover ABA. That is simply not acceptable for middle class federal employees that in all likelihood cannot access ABA outside of their insurance plans.

All federal workers, not just a fortunate few, should have plans that cover ABA. We strongly urge your agency to work with local providers to ensure inclusion of ABA therapy in FEHBP for calendar year 2014. Please inform us of the steps that you are and will be taking to insure that ABA coverage is available to families in our area and in other areas around the country.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response.


Source:
Back to top