Jul 10, 2013
State budget writers came to an agreement over the weekend, finalizing details on Washington’s spending plan for the next two years. Legislators needed extra time to finish their work, narrowly missing a deadline that would have put many services for people with MS greatly at risk. However, the final agreement protects many valuable services for people with MS, including long term care, vocational rehabilitation and Medicaid.
The Society has been actively lobbying legislators in Olympia since January, including the over 60 MS Activists who attended the Society’s annual Day of Activism in February. Because of this pressure, legislators made two important commitments early on in the session: to expand Medicaid and to slowly shut down the state’s high risk pool – the health insurance program for people who have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. It took longer for legislators to agree to a plan to preserve other programs important to people with MS but the final agreement turned out well for the MS community.
“The MS community has created a very high level of awareness amongst legislators and that makes them much more likely to pay attention to our concerns when we meet with them,” says advocacy director Jim Freeburg. “Our victories in Olympia only happen because of the strength of the MS community.”
To learn more, listen to a recording of the most recent Advocacy Updates teleconference. The next Advocacy Updates teleconference is scheduled for Monday, August 5 at 12:15 p.m.