Arthritis Foundation Champions and Applauds Passage of 21st Century Cures Act
Foundation’s push for state and federal health care legislation in first half of 2015 advances agenda for people living with arthritis
ATLANTA, July 10, 2015 – More than halfway through 2015, Arthritis Foundation Advocates have a lot to celebrate. Many of the organization’s 2015 state and federal legislative priorities are experiencing momentum with noteworthy victories around co-pay legislation, formulary transparency, prior authorization limits and biosimilar legislation.
Today, the Arthritis Foundation applauded the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) by the U.S. House of Representatives. If enacted, the landmark legislation will help accelerate the pace of cures in America with nearly $9.5 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enhance the health care innovation infrastructure over the next five years.
The nonpartisan bill received support in the form of more than 800 letters from Arthritis Foundation advocates nationwide. “The Arthritis Foundation applauds members of the U.S. House of Representatives for the approval of the 21st Century Cures Act,” said Ann Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “This bill brings hope to all people living with arthritis as it breaks down current barriers to promising new research and ultimately a cure to our nation’s number one cause of disability. At the same time, we’d also like to thank our advocates whose passion and devotion to the cause of increasing access to life-changing treatment is nothing short of inspiring.”
So far in 2015, biosimilar legislation ensuring affordability, protecting patient-provider relationships and enhancing insurance plan transparency has passed in 11 states with the support of Arthritis Foundation advocates (Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and West Virginia). Similar legislation has passed both houses in Illinois and New Jersey, and now awaits approval by the governor in each of those two states. Collectively, more than 73 million patients are affected by these new laws, which the Arthritis Foundation continues to support through ongoing local advocacy efforts.
“We are energized by the progress we’ve seen so far this year at the state and federal levels,” says Sandie Preiss, vice president of advocacy and access for the Arthritis Foundation. “Arthritis Foundation Advocates and legislative partners have been actively engaged in 119 state bills and a number of federal health care resolutions that could improve the everyday lives of people living with arthritis. Of course, there is still much work to be done, but these initial victories have strengthened our resolve to be the Champion of Yes for people living with arthritis as we address our 2015 legislative priorities.”
Moving forward, the Arthritis Foundation continues to work toward the passage of the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R. 1600), Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act (H.R. 1859) and appropriations for arthritis research programs with the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015. “This year our team has seen a number of internal victories as well,” says Preiss. “We’ve experienced an 85 percent increase in our Advocate pool since 2014, held 10 state capitol days and executed a well-attended summit in our nation’s capital this past March, resulting in 307 Capitol Hill meetings between legislators and arthritis Advocates.”
For continuing updates on the progress of the Arthritis Foundation state and federal advocacy efforts, please visit: https://www.arthritis.org/advocate.
About the Arthritis Foundation:
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4.2 million readers.