Battling It Out in the States

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By Daniel Ignaszewski

Last year was exciting in the fight for parity. The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) helped to introduce bills in 15 states and pass four new parity laws. New Jersey, Indiana, Vermont, and Louisiana joined Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon by enacting legislation that creates a consistent, appropriate standard for prosthetic coverage. Two of the new bills-New Jersey's and Indiana's-also extend protections to orthotics.

There are now 11 states with prosthetic parity laws in place. This year, the ACA is helping 19 states to push through bills that will ensure access to prosthetic care; another ten states are looking to introduce bills in future sessions. With the hard work of local activists and the continued support of our allies, the ACA is confident that it will be adding additional state parity laws to the books in 2009.

Several states completed cost-estimate studies on their proposed parity bills while the legislative sessions were in recess last fall. Each report came back in favor of adopting parity legislation-from both a social and economic perspective. Socially, the analysis looked at the financial hardship faced by patients if their health plan has a cap on annual costs or if devices are not covered. From an economic perspective, enacting parity legislation would have a minimal impact on insurance premiums charged to customers. The findings in these recent reports echo the results of studies conducted in other states.

The ACA is working hard to make sure people with limb loss or limb difference are able to access the prosthetic care and devices they need, but we need even more individuals to get involved in this grassroots movement. The more individuals who take part at the state level, the more likely it is that state legislatures will enact this legislation. There are many ways to get involved. You can write to or call your legislator. You can attend a hearing. Make your voice heard on this important issue!

Daniel Ignaszewski is the National Advocacy Specialist for the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA). To learn more about the ACA's state legislative efforts, contact him at or 202.742.1885.