US Supreme Court Rules in favor of Upholding the Affordable Care Act
The National MS Society has issued a statement on the ruling which can be read here. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=6568. The Greater New England Chapter will continue to track and weigh in on implementation at the state level as needed.
The Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 22!
On July 26th the federal government and states held a series of events to recognize the passage of this landmark legislation. To read the President’s proclamation click here http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/07/26/marking-22nd-anniversary-ada.
Get out the Vote!
As the November elections approach it is critical MS activists are registered to vote and exercise their right. Voters carry more clout with their elected officials. The federal Help America Vote Act or HAVA has helped ensure polls are accessible to all citizens. Check your state Elections Division/Secretary of State office for registration deadlines, procedures and polling locations.
In New Hampshire, a new law has recently taken effect which will not impact voters this November but for all future elections. Senate Bill 289 also known as the “Voter ID Law” will phase in photo identification requirements.
Coupon Bill victory!
A consumer victory four years in the making! Massachusetts now joins all other states in permitting use of pharmaceutical assistance programs and discounts. Thank you to everyone who contacted their elected officials to urge inclusion of the “Coupon bill language in the state budget! See the News page for more information.
Governor’s Health Payment Reform Bill
Governor Patrick signed Senate Bill 2400, An Act Relative to Payment Reform in Health Care. In effect, this complex legislation will create two new state agencies, numerous incentives for ACOs and patient centered medical homes, workforce development incentives and funding, health information technology goals and funding, and medical malpractice reform, to name a few. The MS Clinical Advisory Committee weighed in on the legislation. More updates will be posted on the chapter advocacy pages.
The Lifespan Respite Care Coalition will be sponsoring the first annual MLRC Statewide Family Caregiver Conference on Friday, November 2, 2012 in Marlborough from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is an opportunity for caregivers and their families to learn about local, statewide and national resources. Consumers can share their concerns with legislators, policy-makers and agencies about respite services and funding. For more information, go to the Programs page.
Accessible transportation options/MBTA changes
The Commission for the Reform of Community, Social Service and Para transit Transportation Services, established by Governor Patrick’s Executive Order No. 530 has completed the process of engaging the public through hearings across the Commonwealth in which the chapter provided testimony. This Commission recently issued recommendations sent to Governor Patrick for review. The 44 page report can be downloaded from the chapter website at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/chapters/mam/take-action/priority-issues/massachusetts/paratransit/download.aspx?id=42288 or copies can be mailed to you upon request at email@example.com.
Wanted: Ideas for change
Legislative activity is quiet this summer as the formal sessions have now ended. Look for more updates in the winter edition. The chapter is beginning to identify issues to address through changes in public policy for the upcoming session in January. Do you have an idea you would like to see addressed regarding health care, health insurance, disability rights or long-term care to benefit MS? If so please contact Michelle Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government Relations Committee Volunteers Wanted!
The GRC in each of the four states is actively seeking committed individuals to join us for our monthly meetings in person or by teleconference to help determine our priority issues and activities. Are you a person with MS or have a connection to the disease? Do you have professional expertise in the area of law, medicine, insurance, disability, fundraising, policy, or community organizing? Do you have a commitment to working towards achieving short and long-term goals? Are you willing to speak before government officials, at public hearings or with the media? Are you committed to working as a team and working on projects? If any of these describe you, please contact Michelle.Dickson@nmss.org.
Insurance Coverage for Foot Drop walking devices
Our chapter is very interested to receive feedback as we track Medicaid and private health insurance coverage for either the Walk-Aide or NESS 300 for individuals with MS. The VA is one entity that covers this device for MS but most insurances exclude coverage if you:
- Have non VA insurance coverage that has paid for the device or
- Have insurance that does not cover these devices which has prohibited you from purchasing this device as prescribed by your physician
We want to hear from you! Call our chapter staff at 800-344-4867 or email:
- In MA: Virginia.Morse@nmss.org
- In ME: Heidi.Eastman@nmss.org
- In NH: Allyssa.Thompson@nmss.org
- In VT: Shanna.McCabe@nmss.org
MS Activist Blog
Check out the latest federal news and share your views!
A Little Time Makes a Big Impact! Become an MS activist and make your mark against MS.
- Visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/get-involved/take-action/index.aspx
- Take Action and sign up to receive federal and state alerts
- Recruit a friend!
Health Care Reform Implementation
New health insurance programs are still offering coverage to uninsured individuals with a pre-existing health condition, including MS. Need assistance understanding this new program or advice about health insurance? Call 1-800-344-4867.
Wanted: MS “Grasstops”!
Advocacy solutions for issues confronting people with MS require the National MS Society to build and maintain relationships with top community leaders, elected officials, and decision makers who can help us efficiently achieve our goals at the highest point of contact. A “grasstop” volunteer is a person who has a significant level of connection with a local, state or federal legislator or official, an individual serving at a key government agency, or an influential staff person, and is willing to leverage these connections to advance MS priorities. If you are an MS Grasstop, please contact email@example.com or 781-693-5140.
Improved Access to health care in rural areas
Improving access to health care for people with MS in rural and underserved areas is a key emerging priority at the national and chapter level. The Chapter’s Advocacy department is working to identify the needs of our members in our four states and identify ways to collaborate with state rural health care agencies, medical providers and other partners to begin addressing the need for improved access to care.