Parity Campaign Moving Full Speed Ahead

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By Morgan Sheets

The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) national parity campaign is making great strides this year. With 22 states now in play and six laws on the books, prosthetic parity is truly becoming a national trend.

Texas recently held a rally to seek support for its bills. HB 223 and SB 931 require insurance companies to pay for prosthetic and orthotic care, at a minimum, on par with what the federal government pays through its Medicare program.

"Losing a limb is a medical tragedy no one expects to endure," said Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), the lead sponsor in the Texas Senate. "A person does expect, however, his or her medical insurance to cover costly expenses associated with major medical procedures and the purchase of essential medical devices."

The Texas rally included comments and stories from a dozen amputees and prosthetic practitioners. Several other states are looking to organize rallies and lobby days at their state capitols including New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

Oregon and Iowa just reintroduced their parity legislation. The Oregon campaign committee also held a cocktail party in Salem to bring together local activists and elected officials.

Connecticut is still awaiting the official reintroduction of its bill; however, the state has already launched a statewide organizing effort reaching out to local facilities and gathering hundreds of petition signatures.

The campaign committees across the country are working hard to keep the momentum going in their states. The rallies, petition drives, and letter-writing campaigns are helping to not only educate people about the bills but also to mobilize supporters.

With just a couple of months left in some of the legislative sessions, we are truly pulling out all the stops to keep the bills moving and ensure passage of additional parity laws this year.

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