MS Activists Across the Country Celebrate State Wins
June 6, 2023
MS Activists across the country are celebrating state-level policy wins that improve the lives of people living with MS. Over 1,400 MS Activists have made their voices heard so far in 2023 by contacting legislators through email and phone, attending MS State Action Days, holding meetings with lawmakers, and testifying in support of bills that impact people living with MS.
These states have seen important legislation signed into law in 2023:
- Arizona: At Arizona MS State Action Day, MS Activists thanked their legislators for passing SB 1382 pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) certification requirement reform. This legislation will require PBMs to obtain a certificate of authority to operate and gives the Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI) jurisdiction over PBMs. The bill provides transparency into PBM practices and oversight of PBMs to hold them accountable when they are not following the laws. This act is effective from and after December 31, 2024.
- Arkansas: Governor Huckabee of Arkansas signed Share the Savings legislation into law. The Society was active in the Share the Savings campaign with other patient advocacy groups, with an MS Activist submitting testimony. Share the Savings policies ensure individuals living with MS receive the benefit of a lower price at the pharmacy counter.
- Florida: MS Activists focused on passing the Prescription Drug Reform Act as part of Florida State Action Day on April 11th sending more than 220 messages to lawmakers in Tallahassee. Governor DeSantis signed this important legislation into law to protect patients throughout the drug supply chain process.
- Illinois: The General Assembly included $7.5 million dollars in the FY24 state budget toward the creation of a Home Modifications Program which MS Activists advocated for at State Action Day. Over 220 messages were sent to legislators advocating for this appropriation. The legislature also passed HB 2296, giving the Department of Insurance the power to approve or reject yearly insurance premium increases. This policy will protect Illinoisans on individual and small group health plans from unaffordable increases.
- Maryland: MS Activists helped secure several wins on key priorities; Sharon Long testified in support of SB 515, which provides important reforms to ease the exception process for step therapy protocols in Maryland. The legislation passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Moore in May. MS Activists also helped secure additional support for the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB), which when signed by Governor Moore confirmed the authority of the PDAB to set upper payment limits to make high-cost drugs more affordable for state and local governments. The Governor also signed a new state budget appropriating an additional $1 million to support the PDAB’s work. Last, MS activists helped to pass legislation (SB 828) to build on the Time to Care Act of 2022, which established a paid family and medical leave program in the state.
- Minnesota: MS Activists helped lead the way to the successful passage of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) Act by testifying in-person, submitting statements of support, and sending over 50 messages to legislators. The Society also teamed up with other organizations to support caregiving laws related to renewing the MN Palliative Care Council and establishing a state family paid medical leave program. Our efforts made an impact, and we were delighted that our MS Activist, Bob Miller’s testimony made a special connection with Rep. Cedric Frazier, who spoke on the importance of his testimony and drug costs in this video.
- Nevada: Governor Lombardo signed Step Therapy reform into law this spring. MS Activists testified in support of the legislation throughout the year. This will make it easier for Nevadans living with MS to get the medications they need when they need them. The MS Invincibles' made a huge impact on the process, and we are proud of their efforts to get this bill through.!
- North Carolina: Governor Roy Cooper signed into law legislation to expand Medicaid. Nearly 300 MS Activists made more than 630 connections with their elected officials to expand healthcare coverage for 600,000 North Carolinians. To date, 41 states and DC have adopted Medicaid expansion since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
- Virginia: MS activists advocated for HB 1512 to provide durable medical equipment for people living with MS on Medicaid in skilled nursing facilities. The Society and activist Mike Olex testified in support of the bill, which passed the State Senate and House of Delegates unanimously. The legislation was signed by Governor Youngkin in March.
- Washington: In Washington State, MS Activists aided in the passage of HB 1745, legislation regarding diversity in clinical trials. This legislation requires the Washington State Institutional Review Board to establish a diversity in clinical trials program and requires the Department of Health, in consultation with others, to analyze and provide recommendations on matters related to increasing participation by underrepresented groups in clinical trials and provide a report to the Legislature. MS Activists also supported SB 5218 which extended a sales tax exemption for Complex Rehab Technologies (CRT), making needed powerchairs and related equipment that much more affordable for people living with MS.
Thank you to every MS Activist who has taken action so far in 2023! Several states are still in session and are continuing to make progress on important policies. Sharing your story and making your voice heard leads to victories like these.
Interested in becoming an MS Activist? Learn more about advocating for change by visiting our website: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Get-Involved/Advocate-for-Change/Become-an-MS-Activist