Washington Days Reflections

Diane Lee’s Experience

(from left to right, Josh Schmidt, Yleana Hughes, Jessica klass,

 Sarah Fey, Jim Durr, and Diane Lee)
March 13, 2013It was an honor to be selected to attend the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Washington Days on behalf of the Arizona Hemophilia Association this year.  The trip is a chance to really feel part of our democratic system of government while participating in a process advocating for our bleeding community.  This year the NHF had over 300 members attend to meet with the congressional leaders from all around the United States.  This was the largest turn-out for Washington Days they have ever had.  From Arizona, we were able to send a team of six and were able to meet with many of the Representative offices and Senatorial staff from Arizona. 
Our primary focus this year was to lobby for support of HR 460, The Patients’ Access to Treatment Act which would set regulations on insurance companies preventing them from creating a Tier IV prescription drug list in which they could charge a co-insurance of ten to thirty percent.  As you can imagine, this amount of co-insurance would make much of our factor and medications cost prohibitive to us even with insurance.
We also told our personal stories of how the local Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTC)have benefited our families and requested that any cuts that may be made to budgets either spare or at least be fairly distributed across agencies.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) are agencies that fund and support our Hemophilia Treatment Centers and they have suffered deep cuts already.  We do not want any further cuts.

 
I was impressed at how receptive and respectful [...]

Cindy: Healthcare Reform Update

Healthcare Reform Update

As you may know, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was constitutional. What that means is that the government can require that individuals have health insurance. However, the Supreme Court also ruled that the states do not have to expand Medicaid from 100% federal poverty level (FPL) to 133% (FPL) as was required in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Why does all of this matter to you? The ACA has certain requirements for the states. Arizona has to decide:

I.              What the Essential Health Benefits benchmark plan will be and report to the federal government by September 30th. Governor Brewer chose the State Employee Benefit-United Healthcare EPO with pediatric dental and vision coverage supplemental by the FED-VIP plan as the benchmark plan. It will be important to understand what is included in this plan regarding pharmacy benefits, factor product choices, etc. The plan is about 80 pages long. We are currently assessing it and will make sure to make our voices heard on any concerns for our community.

II.            Whether Arizona will operate its own Health Insurance Exchange or opt to have the federal government run it.  The exchanges are designed to help small businesses provide coverage for their employees and for individuals who are not insured through their employer. On November 28, 2012, Governor Brewer notified the feds that Arizona will not create a state-run health insurance exchange. Arizona is one of 17 other states that have rejected a state-run exchange. The federal government has the authority to step in and create exchanges in states that do not build their own.

III.           Whether to expand Medicaid from 100% FPL to 133% FPL. Children are automatically increased but [...]