Ensuring that Amputees Are Not Left Behind
August 2009 Issue
Congress is committed to enacting legislation to reform the U.S. healthcare system this year. To ensure that the needs of amputees are being heard, the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) launched a legislative initiative around healthcare reform.
We have been meeting with congressional offices throughout the 111th session. We have participated in several coalitions aimed at advancing the needs of people with disabilities, submitted comments and letters on the various proposals and drafts, and we have been working with our activists to hold in-district meetings on reform, as well as to build support for the federal parity bill.
We have mobilized our activists to make calls and send e-mails, kept Congressional health aides up-to-date on our concerns, and participated in several national call-in days in which the disability community flooded the Capitol switchboard with calls to get our message through.
As a result, we've already seen some great progress. The current drafts include insurance market reforms prohibiting exclusions for pre-existing health conditions, as well as restrictions to prohibit the use of health status in determining premium rates. The draft also includes language to prevent annual and lifetime insurance caps and create limits on out-of-pocket spending.
Congress is working to develop minimum standards of coverage for any plan that is developed as part of either a new exchange market or a public option. The ACA and its partners are committed to ensuring that the standards include specific language to provide a full complement of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) and other assistive devices.
Almost two million Americans are living with limb loss or limb difference as a result of disease, trauma, or birth defect. As the diabetes health crisis continues to escalate, so will the number of amputations. It is essential that as healthcare proposals are developed, the needs of people with limb loss be taken into consideration to ensure that these individuals are able to lead productive, independent lives.
Morgan Sheets is the National Advocacy Director for the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA). To get involved in the ACA's advocacy initiatives, contact the ACA at or , or call 202.742.1886.