Vote Like Your Life Depends on It

Vote Like Your Life Depends on It
Early voting is underway in Texas, where I live. Being immunocompromised, I applied for and received a mail-in ballot. With the validity of mail-in voting in question and with healthcare at stake, I’ve decided to surrender my mail-in ballot and risk my health by voting in person. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients should exercise their right to vote. Aside from deciding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our elected officials could shape healthcare for years to come. Before heading to the polls, I researched what IBD-related issues could be discussed on Capitol Hill. The Crohn’s and Colitis Caucus In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives partnered with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to form the bipartisan Crohn’s and Colitis Caucus. The caucus advocates for patient care, raises awareness about IBD, and allocates funding for research. As of late 2019, more than 60 representatives had joined the caucus. I was surprised that only one of the 36 Texas representatives is a caucus member. The first item on my post-election to-do list is to encourage my incoming district representative to join once he takes office. The Safe Step Act (HR 2279/S 2546) Most health insurance companies insist patients undergo step therapy to receive medications prescribed by their providers. Before insurance covers an expensive treatment, the patient must try and fail less expensive — and often less effective — medications. As a result, the patient’s symptoms and quality of life usually worsen. In April 2019, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) introduced House Bill 2279, which was co-sponsored by 150 representatives from both sides of the aisle. A few months later, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and 16 bipartisan co-sponsors introduced Senate Bill 2546. Known as t
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