It’s been a busy year for patient advocacy – with significant wins at the federal and state levels. Read on to get the scoop on the results of the midterm elections, our 2018 year in review, and a look at what 2019 has in store.
In 2018, our advocacy community was essential to securing many victories for people with arthritis. Whether you engaged in a state legislative day, testified before decision makers, or even sent a letter through our Action Center, your actions made a difference. Here are some highlights that we accomplished together this year:
- We reached a milestone when we surpassed 100 state legislative victories since 2014
- Advocates and Ambassadors power our mission, sending over 5000 letters to policymakers through our Action Center!
- Hundreds of legislative meetings were coordinated through our 10 State Legislative Days across the nation
Your stories drive our mission. In our 2019 priority survey, you told us that your top three priorities for this year are managing chronic pain, research for a cure, and access to insurance coverage and providers.
Let’s take a look at the mid-term election results and how your stories can raise awareness with our newly elected decision makers across the country.
Record turnout for the 2018 midterm election year brought about a number of changes in state legislatures, governors’ offices, and Congress that will impact patient advocacy.
In Congress, Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives while Republicans grew their majority in the U.S. Senate. Nearly 100 new members of Congress will be seated in January. That’s 100 new voices in Congress that need to learn about issues important to people with arthritis (plus hundreds of new staff members).
Sixteen members of the Arthritis Caucus lost their seat, retired, or were elected to the U.S. Senate. Rebuilding the Arthritis Caucus will be a front and center priority starting next year, and your stories will be essential to raising arthritis awareness on capitol hill and beyond.
Looking at our crystal ball, we would broadly expect Congressional activities over the next two years to focus on drug pricing reform, out of pocket spending concerns, and oversight of federal health care programs.
In both Congress and in state legislatures across the country, there will be many new faces. On the state level, Democrats picked up 7 new governor seats (IL, KS, ME, MI, NM, NV and WI) and 7 state house chambers in 6 states (CO, CT, MN, NH, ME, NY). Democrats now control the house, senate, and governor’s office in 14 states, a net gain of 6 states.
These shifts will likely lead to increased interest in expanding Medicaid programs and strategies to stabilize state insurance markets. On election night, Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives passed in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah.
Our Advocates and Ambassadors will help educate these new members on issues facing patients with arthritis – and we’ll help you along the way by providing you with resources and tools!
How You Can Help:
- Join us at live events like the 2019 Live Yes! Advocacy Summit March 11-12 in Arlington, VA, and state legislative days (check with your State Director to see if there is an event in your state).
- Share your story and find action opportunities through our advocacy Action Center!
- Join patient advocates and health care providers in breaking down barriers to care.