arthritis foundation hill briefing US economy

Arthritis Foundation to Host a Hill Briefing on the Rising Cost of Arthritis to the U.S. Economy

On Thursday, February 1, the Arthritis Foundation and American College of Rheumatology (ACR) – along with seven other health advocacy organizations – will host a briefing on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to increase research funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to combat the nation’s leading cause of disability.

New data reveals the stunning impact of arthritis on the U.S. economy. Between 2003 and 2013, the annual cost of arthritis more than doubled and now totals $304 billion in direct and indirect costs, according to a CDC-sponsored study published in the September 2017 edition of Arthritis Care & Research. These figures include both higher medical costs to patients, as well as lost earnings from individuals who are unable to work due to their condition.

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danielle highley state of union

Danielle Highley: CHIP Recipient and Special Guest at the State of the Union Address

On Monday, Danielle Highley of Deer Lodge, Montana, and her mother flew over 2,200 miles to Washington, D.C. with Montana Sen. Steve Daines to attend today’s State of the Union address. Sen. Daines invited Dani, age 9, and her mother, Glory, to join him after he told Dani’s story on the floor of the U.S. Senate earlier this month, urging his colleagues to support long-term CHIP funding.

CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, was created over two decades ago with overwhelming bipartisan support. The program insures vital health care for nearly 9 million children across the country. In September 2017, Congress allowed funding to expire, and the program was in danger of ending coverage for those children. Last week, Congress extended funding to CHIP for six years.

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21st Century Cures Act

Answering Your Questions About the New Tax Reform Legislation

On Wednesday, December 20, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). There were several health-related changes included in the legislation, such as a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and changes to the medical expenditure tax deduction. Below we explain the key health provisions that made it into the final law, how it may impact you, and what’s next.

Let’s start with the individual mandate.
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rebecca gillett

Platinum Ambassador Spotlight—Rebecca Gillett, Colorado

In 2016, I was fortunate to attend the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. alongside some seasoned advocacy veterans from Denver. I had never met with my legislators or shared my story before, so it was a new experience. It was easy to “catch the bug” for advocacy being surrounded by so many other fellow arthritis patient advocates who want to make a difference for all of us. Raising awareness and fundraising for arthritis has been an integral part of my life for the past several years, but advocacy has become an even greater passion. This year, I achieved the Platinum Ambassador Award and will attend the Arthritis Foundation’s Platinum Ambassador Assembly this March 12-13, 2018.

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ask the af open enrollment healthcare

#AsktheAF: Open Enrollment Edition!

During this season of open enrollment, the Arthritis Foundation is here to help you make an informed decision in selecting the best health coverage for your unique needs. Open enrollment is the time of year when individuals elect health care benefits through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, or the federal and state health exchanges created through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment periods vary based on the type of insurance you have, but generally occur in the late fall.

As part of our commitment, the Arthritis Foundation hosted a webinar last month to provide a general overview of open enrollment and the tools and resources you need to secure the best health care for you and your family. In addition, we hosted our very first Twitter chat on November 9th devoted to this year’s open enrollment. Thousands of you engaged with us on Twitter to #AsktheAF and we rounded up your questions in one location.

Read on to learn more about open enrollment and the questions you asked during the Twitter chat. If you have further questions, the Arthritis Foundation also has licensed clinical social workers available to talk with you about these options or any other questions you may have about your care. Call toll-free at 1-844-571-HELP.

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lori fagan arthritis ambassador spotlight

Ambassador Spotlight – Lori Fagan, Virginia

From Lori Fagan

I have been living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for over a decade. As a full-time working mom and wife living with a chronic condition, the last thing I need is the added strain of fighting with my health insurer.

Unfortunately, because of a common health insurance practice known as “step therapy,” the last 10 years have been a constant and stressful battle.

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advocacy biosimilars reversal

Arthritis Foundation Plays a Role in CMS Biosimilars Policy Reversal  

On Thursday, November 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they would reverse a policy determining how providers are paid for administering biosimilar drugs under Medicare Part B. A biosimilar is a type of medication that is “similar” to a biologic reference product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); biosimilars offer patients the promise of more affordable treatment options available on the market to address their disease.

Over the past twenty-four months, the Arthritis Foundation and other patient organizations have expressed our collective concerns with CMS’s biosimilars reimbursement policy and encouraged them to reverse it. This policy reversal is a crucial access to care victory for the arthritis community since there are two biosimilars on the market to treat arthritis. The regulatory change will foster competition and lower the cost of expensive biologic treatments, while encouraging innovation of new therapies – ultimately creating a robust marketplace of biosimilars. Read on to learn more about this important win for patients.

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biosimilars win in new work

Victory in New York! Biosimilar Legislation Signed Into Law

On behalf of the more than 3.6 million New Yorkers (including 18,400 children) with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation thanks Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing biosimilar legislation into law. The new law, A.7509/S.4788, enhances patient access to new and innovative medications while ensuring that pharmacists are communicating critical and up-to-date medical information about patients to physicians.

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american health care act

Answering Your Questions About the Latest Administration Actions on Health Care

On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the Administration took two actions on health care that could affect coverage for people who have health insurance through the exchanges.

President Trump signed an executive order that opens the door for the expansion of association health plans, which aren’t subject to the same level of patient protections as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Second, the Administration announced the discontinuation of cost-sharing reduction payments, which are payments to health insurers that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low income people who purchase insurance on the health exchanges.

Read on to learn more about the Administration’s actions and their potential impacts on the arthritis community.

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Junior Ambassador Spotlight – Ethan Berkovitz, Ohio

From Ethan Berkovitz

My name is Ethan Berkovitz, I am a 16-year-old high school sophomore  and my favorite sports are soccer and futsal, a type of indoor soccer with five players per team.  I play on the U.S. Youth Futsal 16-and-under National Team, and this summer I got to compete and represent our country in Costa Rica.  I have been playing soccer since I was 3 years old – and I have juvenile arthritis.

I didn’t always have juvenile arthritis. It all started when I was 8 years old,  when I started having pain in my legs, hands and wrists. I thought I was having growing pains, but it got worse and worse in just a few short months. I couldn’t even walk down the stairs, or to the bus stop, so my dad had to carry me.  Sometimes, I didn’t make it to school because I didn’t feel very well and I would get fevers, so I felt really sick.  I loved playing all kinds of sports back then with my friends and I was on lots of different teams.  I also would ride my bike, skateboard, rollerblade and much more.

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