Specialty Tier Bill
The chapter staff and advocates in conjunction with members of the New England Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs provided testimony in January on LD 1691 - An act related to specialty tiering in prescription medication pricing. The bill would prohibit the use of fourth or “specialty tiers” for prescription drugs which would result in patients paying a percentage or “co-insurance” of the cost of drugs. If you are interested in supporting the passage of this legislation or wish to share your story, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MS Day at the Capitol - March 15
Join the chapter during MS Awareness Week in gathering at the Statehouse in Augusta to educate lawmakers about MS and the chapter’s policy priorities. If you are interested in participating, contact email@example.com.
Legislative Priority Updates
S455 An Act Reforming Insurance Prescription Fee Practices This bill prohibits insurers from establishing tiers of prescription drug co-pays in which the maximum co-pay exceeds no more than 500 percent of the lowest co-pay charged under the health benefit plan. No change is status.
H1557 An Act Promoting Accessible Housing for Persons with Disabilities
This bill’s initial intent is to increase access to accessible housing and support housing production and modification for persons with disabilities, elders, homeless individuals and families, and low and moderate income citizens of the commonwealth. Testimony was submitted by the chapter in support of the bill.
H2352/H2383/S548 An Act Relative to Prescription Drug Coupons
This bill amends the prohibition against offering rebates or coupons of certain medical devices or medicines allowing the use of pharmaceutical discount programs. Two public hearings were held this fall and chapter staff and MS activists provided compelling testimony in support of the bill. No change in status.
S1246 An Act Relative to the Architectural Access Board
Extends the jurisdiction of the Architectural Access Board (AAB) to make it co-extensive with the Americans with Disabilities Act, thereby permitting the AAB to seek certification of its regulations by the federal government, and allowing contractors to comply with both state and federal regulations by referring to a single set of provisions. No change in status.
New Massachusetts Transportation Commission/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 to examine and offer suggestions to improve and reform transportation. This Commission is comprised of leaders from Councils on Aging, the disability community, state government, service providers, and transit users. Linda Guiod, Executive Vice President of Chapter Programs, Services, and Advocacy of the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society serves on the commission. The commission will be issuing a report with recommendations that will be posted on our advocacy chapter web pages. The chapter is also tracking and weighing in on proposed changes to MBTA fixed and paratransit ridership and eligibility determinations.
The NH GRC is currently finalizing priorities for the current session that began in January.
MS Day at the NH State House - March 14
Join the chapter during in gathering at the Statehouse in Concord to educate lawmakers about MS and the chapter’s policy priorities. Please let us know if you are planning on participating by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medicaid Managed Care
The chapter is closely tracking developments and weighing in with concerns to the state’s new proposed model for managed care. If you are a Medicaid beneficiary with MS and would like to share your experience, please contact email@example.com
The chapter and advocates continue to meet with the Governor’s Commission on Disability and the DMV to tackle barriers to public awareness of parking for people with walking disabilities.
Universal Health Coverage Implementation
The Vermont GRC continues to monitor and weigh in on the implementation phase of the landmark “single-payer healthcare law” enacted last spring.
Vermont Statehouse Coffee Break - March 13
Join staff and volunteers at the Statehouse for a one hour morning coffee with legislators. If you are interested in participating contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MS Day at the Vermont Capitol - April 24
Join staff and volunteers at the Statehouse this spring for our annual MS Awareness event. If you are interested in participating contact email@example.com.
Banning Specialty Tiering For Prescription Drugs
Last session MS activists took the lead on an amendment to S.104 to prohibit the insurance industry from issuing “specialty tiers” on prescription drugs which would result in costly co-pays, representing a percentage of the cost of drugs. The final bill approved by the legislature included a one-year moratorium on specialty tiers. Special thanks to Senator Sally Fox who championed this issue and has filed new legislation S.221 this session to remove the moratorium.
Public Accessibility In Downtown Burlington
The Vermont GRC is working with community partners and municipal officials to improve accessibility and provide consumers a voice in addressing the downtown Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace area. Contact Shanna McCabe, Community Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-344-4867.
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 nationalMSsociety.org/get-involved/take-action/index.aspx
- Take Action and sign up to receive federal and state alerts
- Recruit a friend!
Are you a person with MS or have a connection to the disease? Do you have professional expertise in the area of law, medicine, 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, contact Michelle.Dickson@nmss.org.
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.
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.
Improving access to healthcare 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.