The second presentation on Friday was an update by members of the Advocacy Team, Meghan Buzby, Director of US Advocacy, and Aimee Martin, Grassroots Liaison.
First they reminded us why advocacy is so important. Advocacy raises public awareness of myeloma, ensures that all of us have a voice and that it will be heard. Advocacy changes community attitudes and helps us gain access to resources and funding.
Then they talked about the accomplishments of the Team. And, frankly, the Advocacy Team has been on fire this year on our behalf.
HOT TOPICS FOR 2012
The hot advocacy topics for 2012 are that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and that, thanks in no small part to the tireless activities of the Advocacy Team, 20 states have passed a version of Oral Chemotherapy Access legislation.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Meghan explained the Affordable Care Act to us in lay language. It is pretty complicated, but from what I understood, every state will provide 10 essential health benefits. Advocacy is working to contact states that have identified their essential health benefits to make sure that access to those benefits is implemented. View the slides for this session here.
Meghan then gave us some key links for more information on the Affordable Care Act:
- http://healthreform.kff.org (Kaiser Family Foundation)
ORAL CHEMO ACCESS UPDATE
The Advocacy Team has been working on this issue for 3 years. Oral Chemo Access ensures that out of pocket cost is the same for oral and IV chemotherapy. The legislation has been passed by 20 states so far. Six passed it this year alone.
At the Federal level HR 2746 is the Cancer Coverage Parity Act. So far there are 45 sponsors of the bill (in 2009 there were only 5 sponsors).
PATIENTS EQUAL ACCESS COALITION (PEAC)
PEAC, headed by the IMF Advocacy Team, is working with other cancer organizations at the state level on this issue. Meghan and Aimee pointed out that working at the state level is laying the groundwork for federal legislation. Members of PEAC also worked to reintroduce the federal bill last year.
POSTCARDS FOR PARITY
Aimee told us about Postcards for Parity, which will be used to send to an individual's federal legislators in support of HR 2746. It is a very easy way for your friends and family to communicate with their legislators on behalf of an important issue to all cancer patients.
Then it was time for Debbie Birns of the Hotline to explain our test results.