Arthritis 101 Congressional Briefing

Arthritis 101 and Prescription for Access – Making Sure Your Voice is Heard!

Arthritis knows no political affiliation. It affects more than 50 million adults and an estimated 300,000 kids in the U.S., regardless of where they live or for whom they voted. We want to assure you that your voice is being heard by both Republicans and Democrats, especially as lawmakers consider changes to our healthcare system.

On January 31, 2017, we hosted a Congressional briefing with the American College of Rheumatology. Entitled, “Arthritis 101,” this program was for new and returning members of Congress, to educate them about the devastating effects of arthritis and the barriers that affect access to affordable care.

Arthritis 101 was co-sponsored by the Congressional Arthritis Caucus co-chairs Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and David McKinley (R-WV) and moderated by U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR). Nearly thirty offices from Capitol Hill attended.

Topics discussed at the briefing included the growing shortage of rheumatologists, especially pediatric rheumatologists, easy access to treatment, cost of medications and funding for arthritis research programs.

“People with arthritis live in fear of losing access to their prescription drugs and have to fight tirelessly to keep access to the drugs they need to keep their disease under control,” said Cavan Redmond, former CEO of WebMD, pharmaceutical health care executive and Arthritis Foundation board member. “To begin chipping away at this problem and better understand the ‘great health care disconnect’ between patients, policy-makers and health care industry leaders, we sat down with health care leaders across the industry and then met one-on-one with patients, in focus groups to understand their challenges. Based on our findings, we launched an initiative – called Prescription for Access – to actively address the concerns of people with arthritis, including providing policy recommendations and principles for the new Congress to consider.”

Through our newPrescription for Access initiative, we are pleased to announce three new tools to help you more easily and effectively access the care you need.

  • Your Coverage, Your Care Toolkit will help you better understand health coverage options, learn how to get the arthritis care you need and manage claim denials.
  • 5 Things You Can Do Now will give you tangible steps you can take now to overcome barriers and improve your health care in 2017.
  • Patient Principles for Health Care provides four simple principles that, if adopted throughout the health care system, will knock down barriers that make it difficult for patients to make informed decisions.

As the leading authority for the arthritis community, we will continue to meet with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, health care providers and policymakers, helping them understand gaps in the healthcare system and barriers to care. More importantly, we will make sure your voice is heard and considered while healthcare decisions are being made, and we will continue to develop new tools and resources to help you live happier and healthier.

The success of our efforts is heavily influenced by people like you – real people who are dealing with the daily challenges of arthritis – who join our Advocate program. It is through meetings and communications with our Advocates that policymakers learn the truths of living with arthritis and challenges with today’s healthcare system.

Want to make a real and meaningful difference? Become an Advocate today, or better yet, join us in Washington DC, March 6-7, for our Advocacy Summit. The registration deadline has been extended until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8, so don’t delay!

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