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By Nathaniel Brown, director of advocacy

Spring is a time of renewal. For chronic disease patients in many states across the country, it’s also signaling a time of reform. We’ve seen movement on several priority bills this month, and have been so grateful to our ambassadors and advocates for speaking up in their states.

Nowhere is the momentum clearer than in our work to ban copay accumulator programs. Copay accumulator programs are, essentially, when your insurance company pockets any third-party financial assistance you may have received from a charity or drug manufacturer, and still charges you the same amount.

Fortunately, we have seen meaningful progress in Missouri, where HB 442 passed the House; North Dakota, where HB 1413 passed both chambers; New Mexico, where SB 51 passed both chambers; Oregon, where SB 565 had a great public hearing; Texas, where HB 999 also had a good first hearing – and in California, where AB 847 was introduced (Californians: be sure and send an email to your legislator through our call to action).

At the federal level, we’re also seeing progress on the HELP Copays Act which was reintroduced in the new Congress this year. Many thanks to our Ohio Ambassador Elizabeth Oldham for requesting co-sponsorship from the Ohio congressional delegation! If you’re interested in getting your federal representatives to help with this effort, reach out any time.

We’ve also observed some positive movement on pharmacy benefit manager reform. Thank you to CDC Ambassadors Anna Williams and Curtis Warfield in Indiana for sending in written letters of support for SB 8, which would ensure patients see lower costs at the pharmacy counter. And in California, we were pleased to see SB 873 be introduced, which would pass 90% of prescription rebates onto patients instead of the insurance company (you can take action on that one too, Californians!).

But there’s plenty more good news to share. In Colorado, a bill that would remove step therapy requirements for patients with serious mental illness has passed the House. Step therapy protocols are also being reexamined in Nevada, as well as protections for living organ donors. In Texas, bills that would expand access to nutritional services for Medicaid recipients are moving through the process.

As legislative sessions get busier, the Chronic Disease Coalition will continue to advocate for our community at every opportunity. This time of year, the legislative landscape comes a bit more into focus as bills die off or pass through, and we’ll do our best to keep you in the loop.

Reach out any time to if you need help on legislation in your state.