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MS Activists Celebrate 2017 State Policy Impact

December 15, 2017

The National MS Society tracks on the progress of legislation through the state legislatures, at every level: from introduction, to endorsement of a bill, to testimony, to committee hearings and passage, to passage by a full chamber (House or Senate), and ultimately, when bills are signed into law. Throughout the country MS activists worked on a range of issues, chosen because of their potential to impact people affected by MS. On our color-coded map (below), you can see that the orange states represent bills that got across the finish line. 

Many of our MS Activists worked to advance issues like access/affordability of medications—including insurance reforms, consumer protections, and prescription drug manufacturer transparency requirements. We also saw a lot of states focus on home modification tax credit bills, which provide financial relief to people who need to make costly modifications to their homes to improve safety and accessibility. In total 104 bills were supported by the National MS Society last year in the following categories:
  • Access and affordability of MS medications: 33
  • Home modifications: 14
  • Medicaid: 10
  • Transparency of coverage: 8
  • Network adequacy: 4
  • Caregiver support and respite: 3
  • Disability rights: 3
  • Medical cannabis: 2
  • Access to coverage: 1
  • Access to rehab therapies: 1
  • Other: 24
Thanks to the tireless work of MS Activists, the Society was able to see progress on the following policy priorities:
  • Number of Society policy priority bills the Society supported this legislative session: 104
  • Number of Society policy priority bills the Society introduced as the leading organization this legislative session: 25
  • Number of times an MS activist or MS Society staff person delivered testimony regarding legislation: 104
  • Number of hearings held on legislation the Society took a position on: 120
  • Number of times a bill the Society supported was passed by a committee: 115
  • Number of times a bill the Society supported was passed by a chamber of a legislature (House or Senate): 82
  • Number of times a bill the Society supported was signed into law: 22

Learn more about the National MS Society’s advocacy work and how you can get involved: .

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.