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Nearly half of Americans live day to day impacted by chronic disease — and the other half is likely to develop a condition or care for someone who does. Chronic disease impacts all Americans, which underscores the urgent need to amplify the patient voice and advocate for their rights in a system that is not always designed with their needs in mind.

As we build on the progress achieved in previous years, it is important that we recognize the efforts of legislators across the country who tackled health care reform this year. Their bipartisan support for legislation aimed at enhancing access to essential health care services for chronic disease patients marks a vital step forward for our communities.

During Chronic Disease Month every July, the Chronic Disease Coalition proudly highlights and honors these state and federal legislative champions. Regardless of political affiliation, these elected officials have sponsored or co-sponsored bills that directly benefit patients and their families.

While we spotlight a select few, we extend our sincere gratitude to all legislators who have sponsored or supported patient-centered legislation this year:

Addressing financial hurdles to receiving adequate care through copay accumulator bans, pharmacy benefit management reform, and other important efforts.

In 2024, there has been an uptick in legislative support for equitable access to affordable health care thanks to the advocacy efforts of hundreds of dedicated legislators. This heightened awareness has spurred the introduction of several bills aimed at mitigating costs, and enhancing accessibility for millions across the U.S.

Efforts to ban copay accumulator programs, where insurance companies retain third-party assistance without applying it toward a patient's deductible, as well as the development of transparency requirements for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the entities negotiating drug prices, is pivotal.

We extend our gratitude to these legislators for championing the battle against exorbitant healthcare expenses:

Prohibiting discriminatory practices against living organ donors and recipients.

To donate an organ is to give the gift of life. However, discriminatory insurance policies can dissuade healthy individuals from making life-saving donations to people living with chronic disease due to concerns about their insurance coverage. We thank the following lawmakers for championing the rights of living organ donors and recipients:

Generating greater awareness and representation of chronic diseases through the development of Rare Disease Advisory Councils (RDACs) and other platforms.

Patient-informed legislation starts with educating legislators about chronic diseases. To help bridge policymakers' gaps in knowledge, an RDAC serves as a liaison between the rare disease community and state government. Thank you to the following legislators for advocating for greater representation for chronic disease patients:

Broadening access to health care coverage by expanding Medigap and mental health coverage, and removing utilization management barriers like step therapy.

Medigap plans, or Medicare supplemental insurance, fill gaps in traditional Medicare coverage, especially for chronic disease patients who often require medication and treatment not covered by reimbursements. While Medigap is critical to accessing adequate care, we also recognize the role of mental health and the importance of expanding access to mental health providers through increased telehealth coverage, step therapy reform, and other efforts. Thank you to the following legislators for their support in expanding this much needed coverage:

Thank you to all these legislative champions for moving the needle forward for chronic disease patients, their families, and communities. Their efforts to enhance health care access, fight discriminatory insurance policies, emphasize mental health resources, and uplift patient voices are making a tangible difference. This steadfast commitment to bettering the lives of individuals with chronic illnesses is commendable and deserves our appreciation and backing, especially as we head toward a pivotal election in November.