Back in September, Cindy Chmielewski a member of the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking group and New Jersey resident, met with Representative Rush Holt’s legislative health aide, Kim Montgomery regarding HR 2746, the Cancer Coverage Parity Act of 2011.
A few days before her meeting, Cindy spoke with the IMF advocacy team to help prepare her on the issue and discuss her talking points. The IMF also provided her with materials for review and to leave behind for Rep. Holt.
Cindy recalls, “I was excited to have the opportunity to meet with Kim Montgomery, Representative Rush Holt’s legislative health aide, but extremely nervous at the same time. This was my first time speaking one on one with anyone in government. My advocacy in the past involved me signing letters or being part of a group supporting a cause. I was never the actual face behind the “voice.” I made sure I prepared for my meeting by studying all the materials on HR2746 that the IMF provided me.”
The meeting was conducted in Rep. Holt’s district office via video conferencing to DC.
“After a few seconds of “opening night jitters” I felt at home in Representative Holt’s office,” said Cindy. “Ms. Montgomery was very receptive to what I was saying about the importance of oral cancer drug parity, asked some questions, and assured me she would relay my message to her boss.”
Cindy answered Kim’s questions in a follow up email with the help of the advocacy team. And, continued to follow up to get a final answer on whether Holt agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Her persistence definitely paid off. Rep. Holt recently signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 2746!
Rep. Holt serves on the Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee, to which the bill has been referred. If passed, HR 2746 will require health insurers that already cover chemotherapy to cover oral anticancer medications on a basis no less favorable than intravenous or injected anticancer medications. Insurers cannot raise the out-of-pocket costs of IV nor can they reclassify anticancer medications to achieve compliance.
We asked Cindy to share some final thoughts about her experience…
“Upon hearing that Rush Holt will co-sponsor HR 2746 I felt I had a small piece in making this happen. It was easy to make a difference, and would do it again if needed. We all need to stick together and educate ourselves on important issues that impact our lives, and the IMF advocacy group makes that a piece of cake!”
THANK YOU and congratulations to Cindy for her hard work and for being Advocate of the Month for November!
How You Can Help
Please email your US Representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor HR 2746 TODAY!
Contact your Representative’s district office or DC office and ask that he/she co-sponsor HR 2746. If possible, schedule a face-to-face meeting in the district office. To locate your Representative’s district office, visit our Action Center at www.advocacy.myeloma.org.
We have drafted everything you need for a district meeting including talking points, advocacy tips, and materials to leave with Congressional staff at the meeting. All of these documents are posted on our website.
If you are not yet an IMF advocate, please sign up here.