By Nathaniel Brown, director of advocacy
While it’s also the shortest of the year, February is often the busiest month for policymakers. Dozens of legislative sessions commenced across the country in January, thousands of bills were introduced, and hundreds of hearings were held. But February is when the advocacy push really comes to shove, because bills face deadlines in order to stay alive.
2022 has been no exception. This past month, we’ve seen good progress on a handful of bills in states from every corner of the country.
- California introduced bills addressing step therapy (take action now!) and providing for significant living organ donor reimbursement.
- The Washington legislature has passed a bill that – while not perfect – helps address copay accumulator issues for patients in that state.
- All eyes were on Nebraska as their legislature debated a bill that would expand Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) for thousands of patients. While the bill in question won’t move forward this year, lawmakers agreed to negotiate language this summer with the intent of passing a bill unanimously next year. In the advocacy world, progress happens in inches – and this is a huge win. Indiana is moving a bill on living donor protections as well.
- Florida and Kentucky are now health care hot spots as bills on step therapy and living donor protections advance in the Sunshine State and a bill that would expand Medigap is debated in the Bluegrass State.
- Georgia’s Senate passed a living donor protections bill too, thanks to the legislator sponsoring it – an organ donor himself.
- Rhode Island is considering a Medigap bill.
- New York is debating living donor protections.
- Massachusetts continues to evaluate potential step therapy reforms.
While all of this is positive news for chronic disease patients, and we’ll continue to push hard to see these bills over the finish line, the highlight of my month has been convening meetings with lawmakers and ambassadors in their states.
In Virginia, the CDC team was joined by ambassador CJ Walker as we chatted about financial screenings and long-term care issues with Delegate Kathy Tran’s staff. In California, we had an excellent meeting with Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian and his team, where ambassadors Christina Thielst and Nina Torres – and director of patient engagement Tati Skomski – shared their stories, underscoring why it’s so critical for health care leaders to understand how policy impacts chronic patients differently than others.
As we ramp up our advocacy work in March and beyond, we remain committed to elevating the patient voice throughout this work. From direct meetings with legislators, to including quotes from our ambassadors on educational materials, your stories are what help us move the needle. Take one minute and submit your own at our our brand-new story bank to join the fight today.