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Supporting S1192 for Chronic Disease Patients

Step therapy, a practice where insurance companies require patients to try cheaper treatments before approving prescribed medications, stands as one of the most formidable obstacles in our healthcare system.

As someone living with multiple chronic illnesses, including Crohn’s Disease, I've experienced firsthand the detrimental effects of step therapy. It's akin to being forced to endure trial and error with potentially ineffective treatments while grappling with the daily challenges of managing a chronic condition.

With approximately 133 million Americans – nearly half the population – suffering from at least one chronic illness, the urgency to address barriers to care has never been greater.

Step therapy's harmful impact affects chronic disease patients of all kinds. Whether it's autoimmune disorders, chronic pain conditions, or mental health struggles, step therapy delays access to vital treatments, exacerbating symptoms and diminishing quality of life. This practice not only undermines the patient-provider relationship but also jeopardizes patient health by prioritizing cost-saving measures over evidence-based care.

To demonstrate one of my experiences with step therapy, my insurance company required me to try and fail four different medications prior to receiving the medication that my doctor had prescribed. However, the alternative medications did not address my condition or its associated symptoms, and they produced side effects that provoked a difficult flare-up of my other chronic illnesses.

Every delay in accessing proper treatment due to step therapy prolongs suffering and compromises the well-being of millions across the nation. It's time for decisive action to dismantle this barrier to care.

Senate Bill 1192 offers a beacon of hope in this fight against step therapy. By mandating prescription drug coverage for chronic illnesses without the burdensome obstacles of prior authorization or utilization management, including step therapy, S1192 champions patient-centric care. This legislation recognizes that healthcare decisions should be guided by medical expertise, not profit-driven motives.

For chronic disease patients like myself, S1192 represents a lifeline to timely and effective treatment. It restores autonomy to patients and trust in the patient-provider relationship, empowering individuals to access the care they desperately need without undue interference from insurance companies.

As an Ambassador of the Chronic Disease Coalition, I extend heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors of S1192 for their commitment to improving the lives of chronic disease patients. Their dedication to championing this critical legislation is a testament to their understanding of the urgent need for healthcare reform.

I urge New Jersey’s state legislature to follow suit and support S1192. By standing in solidarity with chronic disease patients, lawmakers can enact meaningful change that prioritizes health equity for all. Together, let us pave the way for a future where access to essential treatments is not a privilege but a fundamental right.

Rebecca Weiner

Ambassador, Chronic Disease Coalition

Ridgewood, New Jersey