"Success" is when people with MS and those connected to the cause speak out on issues important to them, ask for change, and work with public officials to address them in a positive way.
Thanks to our MS activists, we've helped make the following happen:
- Through our lobbying efforts, we were able to procure the support of 4 Georgia Congressmen (Sanford Bishop, Jim Marshall, Hank Johnson, David Scott) towards increased MS research and secured a new avenue for MS funding for the first time ever, through the Department of Defense in 2007 (The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program).
- In the Georgia Legislature, we helped lobby against and defeat a bill that would have made embryonic stem cell research illegal in the state of Georgia; legislation that would have severely impacted MS research in the state.
- The chapter was able to secure the support of 5 (Sanford Bishop, Jim Marshall, Hank Johnson, John Lewis, David Scott) Georgia Congressmen towards an individualized line-item for MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) securing $5 million dollars in MS research, this success repeated itself with an additional 4.5 million dollars in 2009.
- We successfully lobbied 5 members of the House of Representatives (Jim Marshall, Lynn Westmoreland, David Scott, Hank Johnson, and John Lewis) in the Georgia Delegation of the U.S. Congress to join the Congressional MS Caucus, as well as lobbying Senator Johnny Isakson to join the Senate MS Caucus, allowing for bi-partisan representation in the Georgia delegation.
- We successfully lobbied Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to help overturn President Bush’s veto of the Medicare Improvements Act.
- In 2008 and 2009, the Georgia Chapter worked in coalition with many partnering organizations, the biggest of which were: The Unlock the Waiting Lists coalition, which focused on disability and in-home supports throughout the state, The Partnership for Patients, which worked towards greater access to prescription drug coverage and medical resources for the chronically ill, and The Coalition for Regenerative and Reproductive Medicine, whose main goal was the protection of research advancements in the state.
- The Georgia Chapter held it’s first ever MS Lobby Day at the State Capitol on March 5, 2009; spreading awareness of the disease as well as the needs of the MS population.
- Senate Resolution 505 – A resolution urging the United States Congress to eliminate the 24 month Medicare wait period for Social Security Disability (SSDI) recipients was lobbied for by the Chapter to Senator David Adelman. This bill was successfully authored and testified for by our staff. The bill was passed by the Georgia State Senate nearly unanimously in 2009.
- Senate Bill 25 – The voluntary tax-check off legislation that allows tax-payers to donate to the National MS Society – Georgia Chapter’s Financial Assistance Program through their tax returns was lobbied for by our Chapter with Senator Valencia Seay, and passed the Senate unanimously. This has been introduced as HB 985 in 2010.
- We successfully defeated a measure proposed by the Department of Community Health that would have cut Medicaid reimbursement for physicians who administer injectable drugs in-office, which would have severely limited patient access to these therapies.
- We successfully worked with the Unlock the Waiting Lists Coalition to lobby for new waiver slots to be introduced in the state-sponsored Independent Care Waiver program.
- Georgia Congressmen Nathan Deal helped introduce legislation that would allow the FDA the pathway to approval of safe and effective generic biological medications.
- Both of Georgia’s US Senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss signed on as co-sponsors of the National MS and Parkinson’s Disease Registry Act. Senator Isakson is an original co-sponsor of the bill.
- The Chapter successfully opposed Senate Bill 169, which was a repeat effort to have outlawed embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.
- The Georgia Chapter lobbied and worked with Congressman Hank Johnson to introduce House Resolution 3799 “The Affordable Access to Prescription Medications Act”, a bill to cap out of pocket prescription co-insurance at 200 dollars per prescription and at 500 dollars for any group of prescriptions.
- Our Chapter lobbied for and oversaw the passage of the 2020 Georgia Transportation Act, legislation that will allow local committees the ability to craft transportation projects and allow local communities to vote on funding referendums for those projects, increasing access to public transit state-wide.
- We supported and helped pass amendments to Georgia's Nurse Practice Act, which enables those need care in their home the ability to have access to more affordable home health care options, rather than requiring an RN to perform those services.
- We also supported legislation that would require Third Party Administrators of Health Care plans to comply with Georgia's Prompt Pay Law, which while vetoed by the Governor, passed overwhelmingly in the Georgia General Assembly and we look forward to further advancements of this measure in 2011.
- Working with Emory University, Georgia Tech, Georgia BIO and other invested organizations, we continue to protect potential life saving medicine and regenerative research within the state, along with Georgia’s economic investment in Life Science.
- We worked towards and won passage of legislation that provides guaranteed issue for Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) coverage for all Georgians in the Medicare system.
- We joined two new, very active coalitions in 2010, including a Health Advocates coalition which seeks to expand healthcare access for all Georgians and 2020 Georgia which sets out to find balanced solutions to Georgia's bleak fiscal picture. We also continue our work with our Coalition for Regenerative and Reproductive Medicine and the Unlock the Waiting Lists coalition.