Arthritis Foundation DC Staff Joins U.S. Surgeon General in Every Body Walk! Initiative
Members of the Arthritis Foundation Public Health Policy and Advocacy staff in Washington, DC joined Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin in a walk around Capitol Hill on May 15. Dr. Benjamin is hosting a series of walks throughout the month of May to raise awareness of the good walking can do for overall wellness. Additionally, Dr. Benjamin is raising awareness for the need for more walkable communities.
The walk started off with some Zumba moves and concluded with light stretching. Guests included Miss District of Columbia, Miss District of Columbia Teen, Miss Maryland, Miss Maryland Teen, as well as many government workers, public interest groups, Capitol Hill staffers, and wellness professionals.
If you are in the DC area and want to join, please visit the Surgeon General’s website for more information. To get walking in your area, click here to learn more about the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease program.
Congressional Arthritis Caucus Co-Hosts Briefing on Capitol Hill
On May 9th, Kathy Gingrich Lubbers presented at a briefing called “The Value of Public-Private Partnerships in Advancing Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis”. The briefing was sponsored by the Congressional Arthritis Caucus, in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, the Personalized Medicine Coalition, the American Society of Clinical Rheumatologists, and Crescendo Bioscience.
Congressional Arthritis Caucus co-chairs Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) welcomed over 50 staffers and guests to the event and gave a few remarks.
Steve Hoffmann, the Scientific Program Manager at the Biomarkers Consortium spoke on advancements in RA treatment and how the public-private partnerships allow for breakthroughs to happen. Additionally, Dr. Max Hamburger, President, American Society of Rheumatologists gave a detailed talk on the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and how advances in biologics have made RA more manageable.
Kathy Lubbers spoke of her experiences with RA and how biologics have enhanced her life. Without them, she said, she may have very well been confined to a wheel chair. She also spoke of the importance of maintaining funding for essential programs at the National Institutes of Health that spearhead advances in RA treatments and medication. For more information, please visit our page on the Arthritis Foundation NIH policy priority.
For more information on the briefing and for any questions, please contact Kim Beer, Director, Advocacy at email@example.com
Arthritis Foundation Provides a Statement on the Sequester
The Arthritis Foundation urges the administration and congress to protect vital discretionary programs as it works to reduce the nation’s deficit. Click to read the statement.
Expensive, disease-altering biologics currently cost many patients with autoimmune arthritis thousands of dollars each month.
The Arthritis Foundation supports new bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives this week that will increase affordability of medications for more than seven million Americans, including 300,000 children, with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other inflammatory diseases. If passed, the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act of 2013 (H.R. 460), introduced by Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), will limit cost-sharing requirements for medications placed in a specialty tier and make innovative and necessary medications more accessible by reducing excessive out-of-pocket expenses.
Because of increasing costs, many insurance plans have instituted a tiered payment system for medications, often labeled ‘generic,’ ‘preferred,’ and ‘non-preferred’ and each have a set cost-sharing amount. A fourth tier, known as ‘specialty tiers,’ utilizes high patient cost-sharing for certain expensive medications. Patients who receive specialty tier medications pay a percentage of the cost of the drug, instead of paying the fixed amount, which results in skyrocketing costs for a single medication.
Biologic medications, including arthritis disease-modifying therapies, are increasingly found in specialty tiers. The result is high out-of-pocket costs, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars a month for a single medication. Because of this financial burden, people with arthritis may stop taking their prescribed medication or skip doses because they simply cannot afford it - even with health insurance and a prescription drug plan. Because there are no generic alternatives to biologics, the specialty tier cost-sharing structure negatively impacts people that depend on biologics - people with RA, psoriatic arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis.
“This practice is unacceptable and discriminates against patients with chronic conditions. Cost-sharing for prescription medications should not be so large as to restrict or interfere with people’s treatment,” says Amy Melnick, vice president of advocacy for the Arthritis Foundation and co-chair of the Coalition for Accessible Treatments. “The Arthritis Foundation is one of 18 members of the Coalition for Accessible Treatments which encourages patients and physicians to ask lawmakers to support and co-sponsor the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act of 2013.”
Arthritis Foundation President and CEO Dr. John H. Klippel joins HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in support of changes to the government insurance programs that will make it easier for Americans with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance coverage. Changes announced today to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) will offer more Americans with chronic conditions, like arthritis, access to affordable coverage. Created under the Affordable Care Act, the PCIP is for people who are unable to purchase coverage due to their medical conditions.
"The seriousness of arthritis makes it unacceptable for people with it, or any other chronic disease, to be denied access to care and medications they need for any period of time," says Klippel. "The Arthritis Foundation is pleased to collaborate with the Secretary and Administration in raising awareness about this program to help individuals without insurance and with pre-existing conditions."
For more information on PCIP, visit https://www.pcip.gov/ .
The Congressional Arthritis Caucus held it's inaugural event on May 13, 2011 in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month. The event, "A Step Against Arthritis" invited congressional staff and local volunteers to Capitol Hill to symbolically walk around the Capitol and raise awareness about the importance of movement in the prevention and treatment of arthritis. Prior to the walk, a brief press event was held where participants heard from Dr. Jack Klippel, CEO and President of the Arthritis Foundation, and author and television personality Christine Schwab. Special thanks to Representatives Myrick (R-NC) and Eshoo (D-CA) for hosting the event and for the many local advocates who came in community spirit.
Arthritis Foundation Urges the Inclusion of Arthritis in the National Prevention Strategy
On behalf of the Arthritis Foundation, Kimberly Beer provided public comment on April 12, 2011 before a meeting of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health (Advisory Group), chaired by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. During her testimony, Kimberly shared startling statistics about the prevalence of arthritis among Americans and how the pain of arthritis is often a strong barrier to the treatment of many chronic diseases. Her statement urged the Advisory Group to include arthritis when developing their National Prevention Strategy. Read her testimony.
Representatives Myrick (NC) and Schakowsky (IL) Receive Advocacy Leadership Awards
The Arthritis Foundation was excited to grant two Advocacy Leadership Awards during the 2011 Advocacy Summit to Representatives Sue Myrick (NC-9) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) for their commitment to ending arthritis. This prestigious award recognizes policymakers who have performed exceptional service in support of the Arthritis Foundation’s mission. Representative Myrick currently co-chairs the Congressional Arthritis Caucus with Representative Anna Eshoo (CA).
Pennsylvania Advocates Meet with Senator Casey
On Tuesday, November 9, 2010 Arthritis Advocates Donna Trigone and her daughter, Maria Lefchak met with Senator Casey and his chief of staff, Jim Brown, to discuss the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act. Maria and Donna stressed the importance of passing the Arthritis Act prior to the end of the 111th Congress and Senator Casey agreed to help. Thanks for fighting arthritis, Donna and Maria! To meet with your Members of Congress and learn more about the important work the Arthritis Foundation does in Washington, become an Arthritis Advocate today!
Sophia Rothman Raises Awareness About Juvenile Arthritis on Fox News
Senator Franken Speaks Out in Support of the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act
Arthritis Ambassadors Visiting with their Members of Congress During the 2010 August Recess
Young Advocate Mikayla Minning Dines with Rep. Roybal-Allard and Talks Policy
August 13, 2010. The words "August Recess" may remind of you of a time gone by, running through sprinklers and dreading each day that signaled the approach of a new school year, but for our members of Congress August Recess is no day in the sun. It's a month for members to return to their home district and meet with the constituents they serve (Learn more about the history of August Recess). This August Recess the Arthritis Foundation has encouraged our Arthritis Ambassadors to meet with their members of Congress and talk with them about our legislative priorities. With over 50 meetings on the books, our advocates are working hard to make sure that when Congress reconvenes "arthritis" is on the lips of everyone in the House and Senate. Carrying out her August Ambassador assignment, Mikayla Minnig of California asked Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, a cosponsor of the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act, for a minute of her time. Rep. Roybal-Allard generously spent two hours with Mikayla at lunch where they discussed the state of Mikayla's arthritis, her experience at JA Camp, the rising cost of medications for children with arthritis, and the importance of passing the Arthritis Act. Thanks to Representative Roybal-Allard for taking the time to meet with the Minnig family and a special thanks to our brave arthritis advocate, Mikayla Minnig, for working hard to develop and maintain a strong, growing relationship with your member of Congress! Learn more about the Arthritis Ambassador Program.
Pacific Northwest Recruits New Advocates at 9th Annual Symposium
Ambassador Peg Timmins of Sammamish, WA collects Dear Senator letters from e-advocate and Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program leader Shirley Rancich of Mountlake Terrace, WA at the Pacific Northwest Chapter’s 9th Annual Symposium on Arthritis.
Lt. Governor Aiona Joins the Hawai'i Arthritis Walk
In an effort to raise funds and awareness about arthritis, Hawai'i's Lt. Governor Duke Aiona participated in the state's 2010 Arthritis Walk. "Through donations and support, the Arthritis Foundation continues to serve our community by providing exercise programs led by certified instructors who help people exercise safely to treat their arthritis and better manage their pain," Lt. Governor Aiona said. There are currently 236,000 people in Hawai'i living with arthritis. Thanks for joining the fight against arthritis, Governor Aiona! To learn to learn arthritis-related statistics for your state, click here.
Arthritis Ambassador Mike O'Toole Takes Connecticut Walks By Storm!
Advocacy Shines at the Arthritis Walk in Evansville, Indiana
Great advocates come in every age and form. It was cold and windy at the May 8th Evansville, Indiana Arthritis Walk this year, but that didn’t stop Congressman Brad Ellsworth (IN-8) from coming out and enjoying the festivities. Rep. Ellsworth kicked-off the walk with a heart-warming speech and even stopped to ask the 2010 Young Hero, Payton Pierce, for her signature. He has set the autographed photo on his desk in Washington to serve as a constant reminder of what he has been elected to do while serving in office. Thanks to both Rep. Ellsworth and Payton for fighting arthritis at home, in your communities and in Washington! To join them and fight arthritis through advocacy, sign up as an arthritis e-advocate today.
Arthritis Advocate Makes Today Show Appearance
Mr. Lee Evans of New York, New York joined Arthritis Foundation staff on May 6, 2010 to appear on the Today Show. Lee learned about the opportunity to participate in the screening through an e-alert sent out to advocates living in the NYC area. Despite walking with a cane, Lee joined the team at 6 AM and stayed for several hours - all in the name of arthritis awareness. Thanks for moving to make a difference, Lee!