Get Involved in Advocacy
The ACR Board of Directors will converge on Washington, D.C., this month to meet with members of Congress and advocate on behalf of ACR members. They will carry three critical messages to Capitol Hill: access to rheumatology, access to treatments, and funding for research.
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Explore This IssueMay 2013
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Access to Rheumatology
The ACR is urging members of Congress to support the bipartisan efforts of the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees to overhaul the defective Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula. The ACR continues to work with the staff and leadership of these committees as they craft their plan to replace the SGR with a more viable physician-payment system. It is critical that the new system has multiple options and recognizes the specialized care rheumatologists provide. The ACR is also carrying the message that cuts to physician reimbursements, including the 2% sequester cut to Medicare, have seriously detrimental effects on rheumatologists’ ability to see Medicare patients and operate practices. The sequester cuts must be reversed.
Access to Treatments
The ACR is asking members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 460, the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act of 2013. This bipartisan legislation, which has been championed by the ACR and other members of the Coalition for Accessible Treatments, enables patient access to critical treatments by limiting cost sharing for medications in a specialty-drug tier to the dollar amount a plan requires for drugs in its highest nonpreferred brand–drug tier. The bill currently has 29 Democratic and 11 Republican cosponsors. The ACR serves as co-chair of the 20-member Coalition for Accessible Treatments.
Funding for Research
When the federal government’s sequestration cuts were enacted earlier this year, funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was cut by more than 5%. The ACR is very concerned about the implication of these cuts for medical innovation, particularly the potential effect on new treatments for arthritis and rheumatic diseases. It is important that Congress understands the impact of these cuts and increases funding to improve lives, create jobs, and decrease healthcare costs.
Think Nationally, Advocate Locally
You can help ensure the future of rheumatology and your patients’ continued access to quality care by sharing your thoughts on the above priorities with your legislators. Members of Congress have regular district work periods when they are available to meet with constituents in their local offices. This is an important opportunity to educate legislators and build relationships. Take the step of scheduling a meeting during an upcoming district work period: May 27–31, July 1–5, or August 5–September 6. If you would like assistance scheduling or preparing for a meeting—or if you would like to share photos and results from your visit—contact ACR staff at [email protected] or by calling (404) 633-3777.