Last year, columnist Andrew Cohen wrote in The Atlantic about a disabled daughter of a Navy Captain who needed physical therapy. As many of you may know, equine therapy (properly known as hippotherapy) is an approved and recognized form of physical therapy covered by insurance plans, except for TRICARE, the medical insurance plan which covers the military, their families, and retirees from the armed forces.
In this case, Tricare initially paid for the therapy but then suddenly stopped covering it. The reason? Hippotherapy was allegedly unproven as being effective, this despite it being considered effective and proven in the private world. TRICARE would pay for physical therapy which didn't work, but for a form of therapy the family was able to show was working, no such luck.
Fortunately, someone has come to the family's aid to help pay for the physical therapy but donations don't come in forever, and no doubt there are others in the military or their families who could avail themselves of hippotherapy if TRICARE paid for the benefit.
Fortunately, as Cohen reports once again in The Atlantic, Representative Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) has introduced H.R. 1705, officially known as a bill "To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for certain forms of physical therapy under the TRICARE program". Under this legislation, TRICARE would be authorized to cover hippotherapy. As of now, there are two co-sponsors, Representatives Tom Colton (R-AR) and Marc A. Veasey (D-TX).
Here is where you can come in, contact your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 1705 and to commit to voting for the legislation if and when it comes to the House floor. While you are at it, contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to support this bill when it comes to the Senate. You can locate and contact your Congressman as well as contact your Senators using these links.
Help push this proposed legislation through. After all, doesn't our military deserve the same treatments available to civilians?