Federal Action Alerts

 

Signing The climb to political power starts with the individual. Helping harness the strength of a community is what the Alpha-1 Association's and Alpha-1 Foundation's Action Alert Program is all about. Throughout the year, opportunities to influence lawmakers are selected. An issue's background is explained, along with why it matters, and what you can do to help. These will be published on the Alpha-1 Action Center, in our Alpha-1 News, in E-Advocacy Newsletters and e-mailed to those members whose e-mails are on file with the Association. Please help us improve the lives of Alphas by supporting efforts to obtain favorable legislation and regulations! Below are current active Action Alerts. Please feel free to use the templates we have provided.


URGE HUMANA TO REVERSE ITS DECISION TO COVER ONLY ONE AUGMENTATION THERAPY

Humana is one of the largest health insurers in the United States. Their recent formulary policy decision can adversely affect many thousands of patients, including many with Alpha-1, as well as more than 3,000 hospitals and nearly 50,000 pharmacies across the country. Their decision implements a strict, single agent formulary for alpha-1 antitrypsin augmentation, a critical therapeutic available in four formulations that, as biologicals, are not considered generically equivalent.


Make COPD a Priority in Your State

Write a Letter to Congress requesting that COPD be included in your state's chronic disease plan. By incorporating COPD into the chronic disease plan you will be helping to raise COPD awareness and reduce the burden of COPD.


Support HR 2725 – The FDA Safety over Sequestration Act

The FDA relies on user fees to supplement congressional appropriations when approving new drugs and devices. The fees are intended for a specific purpose, such as the review and approval of a new medical therapy. User fees began after a variety of groups and the FDA agreed it was taking far too long from time of submission to approval. Right now, industry-financed user fees to the FDA are being sequestered alongside traditional appropriated monies to the Agency. Please tell congress to that user fees should not be subject to a sequester.

 

Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act-HR 2619

The House of Representatives has now introduced HR 2619, the Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act. We are asking all supporters of the respiratory profession and the pulmonary patient community to once again contact their members of Congress asking their House members to co-sponsor HR 2619 and your Senators to support the introduction of a companion bill to HR 2619.The Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act – HR 2619 will amend Medicare Part B to add coverage of "pulmonary self-management education and training services" furnished by qualified respiratory therapists in the physician practice setting to Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with certain chronic lung diseases.

  

Stop the Medicare Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment

On January 30th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new single payment amounts for a broad range of home medical equipment across much of the country. These amounts cut prices by an average of 45%. This is alarming for those that rely on Durable Medical Equipment as they can create severe disruptions across the entire healthcare continuum, especially in the segments that serve seniors and people with disabilities. Contact your elected official in the House of Representatives and Senate and ask them to stop the Medicare Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment.

 

Protect funding for the Food & Drug Administration & National Institutes of Health!

The potential automatic spending cuts, or sequestration, scheduled to take effect in January 2013, will be devastating for patients as well as the future U.S. leadership of research and development. Sequestration would slash federal investments in critical health, scientific, medical and biological research aimed at discovering treatments, moving safe and effective new medicines to market, and creating the innovations to grow our economy.


Support the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2012 (HR 6490)

A bill that fixes the current flawed Competitive Bidding Program by substituting it with a market-based system so as not to interfere with patients' access to critical home medical equipment and services.

 

Support sustained growth for the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

There is no specific treatment for Alpha-1 associated liver disease. Clinical care primarily consists of treating biochemical abnormalities and providing supportive measures, which address symptoms. Alpha-1 is the second leading cause of pediatric liver transplantation. Sustained growth for the NIDDK offers hope that research may find a therapeutic solution or cure for those with Alpha-1 associated liver disease.

 

Join the COPD Congressional Caucus

In December 2010, the CDC released a report confirming COPD's rise from fourth leading cause of death in the US to third (behind only heart disease and cancer). Approximately 24 million Americans have COPD, but half of the population with COPD remains undiagnosed. Though many patients with COPD have had long-term exposure to tobacco smoke, about 1 in 6 develops COPD for genetic reasons. COPD is also a major cause of disability. The Congressional COPD Caucus is a bipartisan group of lawmakers working together to actively push for COPD awareness and promote government policies to improve the lives of COPD patients. The greater its membership, the greater its influence in Congress.

 

Supporting Pulmonary Rehab Revision

HR 6376 would revise the current PR law and ease the strict requirement that only a physician may supervise a pulmonary rehabilitation program. It would permit other Medicare defined "non physician practitioners" such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants (in addition to physicians) to supervise a PR program. It would provide the flexibility needed to permit facilities to utilize other appropriate supervisory personnel and make pulmonary rehabilitation programs more accessible to those on Medicare. If you have had problems accessing care or receiving reimbursement of medical expenses, please e-mail: jwelsh@alpha1.org.