Health care laws and policies are keys to whether millions of Americans with arthritis get the care they need to manage their disease and live their lives to the fullest. For some, it can mean the difference between walking and a wheelchair, employment and disability, even life and death.
And although the U.S. Congress is at an impasse, states’ legislatures are taking action to protect and promote access to care and medications – including those for people with arthritis.
“With the gridlock in Congress, it could take years for federal legislation to move on many of the issues related to access to medications and care,” says Mark Guimond, director of state legislative affairs for the Arthritis Foundation. “States are not waiting. Some states can consider and enact a new law in just a few short months.”
So why does state legislation carry so much weight? For starters, most of the specifics of health insurance plans are governed by state law, so the laws in your state directly affect your access to care. For example, state laws define out-of-pocket drug costs and whether insurance covers an adequate network of health care facilities and doctors.
That is why the Arthritis Foundation and its volunteer advocates regularly work with state legislators and policy makers. The Foundation helps identify challenges, and volunteers share first-hand experiences. Together, they create a compelling lobby for the 52 million adults and 300,000 children in the U.S. with doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
“Using our motivated volunteer advocates to serve as citizen lobbyists is giving us the power to enact laws in state after state that limit the out-of-pocket costs on medications, reduce wait times for insurers to authorize specialty medications and many other benefits,” says Guimond.
Our Key Advocacy Priorities
Following are key issues the Foundation is fighting for at the state level to help people with arthritis afford medications and get the treatments they need.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation & Advocates Work State-By-State to Ensure Access to Care