Celebrating Victories

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By Morgan Sheets

The 2009 legislative session has exceeded our expectations. Five states have passed prosthetic parity laws: Virginia, Maryland, Iowa, Arkansas, and Texas.

Each bill requires insurers to provide meaningful coverage for prosthetic devices and care by creating a consistent standard for prosthetic benefits. The Maryland and Texas bills also provide coverage for orthotic devices. By enacting parity legislation, insurance companies are prevented from imposing special caps and exemptions that make these basic services cost-prohibitive for many individuals. Because of their potential to help people with limb loss keep their jobs, take care of their families, and live healthy, active lives, the bills were strongly supported by the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), which worked to provide technical assistance to the local campaign committees.

The ACA is grateful to the hundreds of activists around the country who dedicate their time and efforts to advancing parity legislation at the state and federal level. In some states, there is a large group partnering with the ACA to advance parity. In other places, one or two committed individuals coordinate with us to make it happen. And, in some instances, a prosthetic facility or local orthotic and prosthetic association steps up to the plate.

Because of their help, 16 states have prosthetic-parity protections in place.

The ACA is also working with sponsors to get the federal prosthetic-parity bill reintroduced in the 111th Congress. Almost 30 organizations have now signed on with the ACA to support this legislation. These include such prominent organizations as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Easter Seals, and the American Diabetes Association.

The ACA is holding a series of organizing meetings this summer to ramp up support and mobilize activists for the various state campaigns. We are also coordinating a nationwide organizing effort to secure in-district meetings with targeted lawmakers at the federal level. We are committed to advancing protections at the state and federal levels.

Morgan Sheets is the National Advocacy Director for the ACA. To get involved in your state's parity efforts, contact . To find out more about the ACA's congressional initiative, e-mail: