Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Law hurts chronic disease sufferers

Regardless of how one might feel about health care reform, the reality is that this train has left the station. The law is in place, and state and federal governments are making decisions that will impact millions.

The Department of Health and Human Services in spring issued guidance regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Essential Health Benefits provision. As written, it requires state insurance plans subject to this requirement to cover only one drug per group.

If this coverage standard, going into effect in 2014 and to be re-evaluated in 2016, stands, millions of people, like my dad, with Parkinson's and other chronic diseases will suffer.

They have to refill a prescription for a drug that does not address debilitating disease symptoms a total of 24 times: once a month, every month, for two full years.

My dad is just one of the estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million people living with Parkinson's disease in the U.S. Millions more suffer from other chronic, progressive diseases and will similarly be impacted by this approach.

That's a lot of people potentially receiving the wrong medication and is antithetical to the intent of the law. Patients and physicians must have at their disposal as many options as possible in the treatment of Parkinson's.

I call on Gov. Butch Otter and other leaders to act to ensure that Idaho adopts an insurance framework that protects and prioritizes patients' access to necessary prescription drugs and quality, affordable care.


Idaho state director

Parkinson's Action Network


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