We didn’t know what to expect in 2018 because our elected officials were so focused on the midterms. But it turned out to be a rewarding year for our volunteers, who wrote to and met with their legislators in state capitols and on Capitol Hill.
In Minnesota and New Mexico, we focused on reforming step therapy, which occurs when insurance providers refuse to cover the drug your doctor prescribes until you try and fail on another treatment. The bills passed and will provide more than 190,000 residents living with psoriatic disease the opportunity to access better health care. That brings the total number of citizens potentially impacted by our efforts across the U.S. to 3.2 million.
At the federal level, we continued our push for step therapy reform through support and leadership of H.R. 2077, the Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act. As a result of passionate volunteers and a strong coalition, we have nearly 90 co-sponsors who will help us build momentum. Our work in the 115th congress sets a good ground work for launching our efforts in the 116th. NPF advocates will head to Capitol Hill in early April to help carry the previous momentum into the new legislative session.
On the regulatory level, we fought with some success against efforts to chip away at the Affordable Care Act and the protections it offers to those living with a chronic disease. Still, it was a slow year. Many legislatures (44 out of 50) were in the second year of their cycle and had short sessions or sessions focused only on budget matters, so 2019 presents us with a new opportunity to start fresh and effect change.
The balance of power has shifted in D.C. because of the midterms. Prognosticators on either side of the aisle are predicting productivity and stagnation from Congress at the same time.
NPF will focus our efforts in Congress on issues with bipartisan support and the highest potential for passage. Part of the potential for gridlock is that the states will be legislating the vast majority of health care reforms.
The federal government was not the only legislative body that experienced change. The Democratic party picked up several chambers and governorships, resulting in a slightly more balanced map of state legislatures.
Advocacy staff anticipate being active in nearly every state this year, defending pre-existing condition protections, supporting efforts to strengthen the ACA, and reining in high costs for medications and treatment.
Join the fight
NPF is excited about our new grassroots advocacy tool, VoterVoice. You can download VoterVoice and sign up to get the latest alerts from our team. Whether it’s writing your representative, attending a state lobby day or simply using your social media powers to influence change, we guarantee you’ll find an exciting way to advocate.