Celebrating a Victory

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By Morgan Sheets

The Oregon State Legis­la­ture recently passed into law com­pre­hensive coverage for orthotic and prosthetic care. Spon­sored by Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) and Sen. Alan Bates (D-Ashland), HB 2517 mandates that insurance plans offer coverage for orthotic and prosthetic care without caps and co-pays that restrict access to prescribed devices.

The bill also requires that individuals have access to coverage from at least two different providers to allow patients a degree of choice in the provision of their care.

The Oregon campaign kicked off in July 2006. The bill was introduced into the 2007 session and was heard before the House Health Care Committee on February 14. It passed the House floor on April 23, the Senate passed it one month later, and it is now on its way to the governor's desk for a signature. The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) hopes that this law will help create momentum for the other state campaigns.

Pennsylvania is looking at a potential floor vote this summer. Insurance Committee Chair Anthony DeLuca has assured the ACA that HB 317 will receive a public hearing. He believes it will be passed onto the floor. We feel confident that we have the votes to get it out of the House. That will leave the fall to lobby and work the bill through the Senate.

Indiana is one of the newest states in the national campaign. There will be a statewide organizing meeting in Indianapolis on Tuesday, July 17, where the ACA's advocacy director will help activists plan the next steps in the campaign. Meetings with potential sponsors will also be held that week.

The ACA is also working with a number of partners at the national level to take steps toward introducing a federal bill. They recently met with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) to discuss a congressional effort. Specter sits on several key committees including the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

The summer is certainly heating up for the national campaign!

Morgan Sheets is the national advocacy director for the ACA's Action Plan for People with Limb Loss (APPLL) initiative. She can be reached at APPLL@amputee-coalition.org. For more information, visit www.amputee-coalition.org/advocacy/index.html