The Iowa arthritis community is celebrating Governor Branstad signing into law House File 233 on May 10, 2017.
The bill, unanimously passed by both chambers, puts limits on an insurance industry protocol known as step therapy which requires patients to try and fail medications identified by the insurance company before agreeing to cover medications prescribed by the treating physician. The bill will increase access to care for arthritis patients by limiting step therapy practices in Iowa.
You can show your appreciation by sending a thank you note to Governor Branstad. We’ve done all the hard work for you by creating a templated electronic letter. All you have to do is click a few buttons. It’s quick and easy, but more importantly, it lets our legislators know how critical their support is and our sincere appreciation for their help. Send your letter today!
Passage of House File 233 was, in part, the direct result of passionate work by dedicated Arthritis Foundation volunteers who are members of our Advocate program. It all started in October 2016 at our Iowa Advocacy Day training. Participants learned about step therapy, how it affects access to care and how they could effectively tell their personal arthritis stories to help legislators better understand the devastating effects of arthritis and, more important, how they can help the arthritis community improve access to care.
The Talley family, from Adel, Iowa, was one of many families who attended the 2016 training. Suzanne Talley shared how her 6 year old son, Barrett, was required to follow their insurance provider’s step therapy protocol, trying and failing several medications before the insurer would cover the medication originally prescribed by Barrett’s pediatric rheumatologist. Barrett eventually received the treatment prescribed by his doctor and is now in remission.
In January 2017, Barrett became our unofficial spokesperson for our Iowa legislative journey. Along with fellow Advocate Suzy Hider from Des Moines, Barrett and Suzanne testified on behalf of House File 233 in both the House and Senate, advocating that kids shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get the medicine prescribed by their treating physician, unnecessarily prolonging the pain and advancement of their arthritis. They were joined by Representatives Fry, Moore, Lundgren and Mascher, and Senators Segebart, Greene, Shipley and Mathis who championed the bill throughout the legislative process.
Then in March, we coordinated an advocacy day at the Iowa state capitol to focus on the issue of step therapy. We were joined by representatives from a related coalition including Dr. Michael Brooks from the Rheumatology Association of Iowa. Additional Arthritis Foundation Advocates joined us and shared their personal stories with legislators. In total, we met with 15 legislators!
“We were absolutely beaming when we received word that Governor Branstad signed House File 233 into law,” said Suzanne. “It will put treatment decisions back in the hands of health care professionals.”
On behalf of the Iowa arthritis community, we want to thank all of our advocates and legislative champions for their work in achieving this significant win.