A Day on the Hill: Putting a Face on IBD Legislation

A Day on the Hill: Putting a Face on IBD Legislation
As I walked up the steps toward Capitol Hill, the realization finally struck: I was really doing this. I was really lobbying for better healthcare legislation for patients like myself. More than 100 volunteers and I had traveled from all over the country to Washington, D.C., as part of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Day on the Hill program (DOH). And we all shared one mission: to bring our stories forward to advocate for improvements in legislation for all of us suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This was the first time I had lobbied for anything, let alone for IBD. I was nervous and excited all at once. All these years of suffering, medication trials, and surgeries had amounted to something: I could now share my experiences for the greater good and be an advocate for those facing the same uphill battles I’ve had with insurance approvals. A lot led up to DOH to help us prepare. We attended webinars and conference calls while researching our senators and congressmen. We received training on how to speak to legislative staff about the two bills we were lobbying: HR2077 Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act (for step therapy) and S1194/HR2587 The Medical Nutrition Equity Act. Most importantly, we prepared for how our stories related to these two bills. To elaborate, "step therapy" is a cost-saving insurance protocol that requires patients to fill an insurer-preferred medication before receiving coverage for the physician-prescribed medication. This bill would require insurance companies to implement a clear appeals process and a quick turnaround for appeals (within 24 to 72 hours). It establishes circumstances in which a pati
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