Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reminder: Tune in and watch Lives Worth Living, today, October 27, 2011 at 10pm

We posted about it a few weeks ago and today’s the day! Don’t miss out on watching this powerful and moving film that captures the historical perspective of the Disability Rights Movement in the United States. Lives Worth Living is sure to inspire you—as it showcases stories told by the movement’s pioneers, bold legislators, and other important advocates who demanded equal rights and were victorious in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—landmark legislation that guarantees people with disabilities the equal access they deserve. As a result of these activists’ work and the ADA, important strides have been made in terms of getting more people with disabilities into the workplace and making public transportation systems and public spaces like hotels and retail stores more accessible so that people with disabilities are integrated in their communities. MS activists all over the country have helped make these sorts of vital changes happen.

This film is made possible through the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens and is produced and directed by Eric Neudel. The documentary airs at 10pm eastern, so be sure to check your local tv listings.

Watch tonight and spread the word to your family, friends, and social networks!  We encourage you to share your thoughts on the film by posting comments on our blog!

To learn more, click here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Need to make changes to your Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) or Medicare Advantage coverage?

Now is the time to do it! The Annual Open Enrollment period began October 15th, and will end on December 7th. This is earlier than it has been in the past, and the only time you can switch prescription drug plans during the calendar year unless you qualify for a special enrollment opportunity. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to review your coverage choices and change plans if another option better suits your needs. If you are happy with your coverage, review any changes your plan intends to make for 2012 to make sure. Current enrollees should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from their plan highlighting any scheduled changes to the premium and other out-of-pocket expenses for plan enrollees. The ANOC will also tell you if there will be any changes to the formulary scheduled for 2012. Copies of these notices may also be requested directly from the plan. Changes made to drug plans will be effective on January 1, 2012 and remain in effect for the year.

Be sure to share this information with family and friends that rely on a Medicare drug plan so they don’t miss the December 7th deadline. 

For additional information on Medicare, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Must-See Documentary on the History of America’s Disability Rights Movement

On October 27, 2011 at 10pm (Eastern Time), PBS will feature Lives Worth Living, an independent film that explores the challenges people with disabilities encountered before having equal access to schools, apartment buildings, and public transportation. Produced and directed by Eric Neudel, the film is told from the perspective of the disability rights movement’s pioneers, legislators, and other important advocates who for decades fought for equal rights and were victorious in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act—landmark legislation that guarantees people with disabilities the equal access they deserve.

This powerful and moving film is made possible through the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens. On October 27, be sure to tune in and watch a transformative film about the powerful movement that vastly improved the conditions for people living with a disability in the United States.

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

As Super Committee Deadline Approaches, Call Your Members of Congress This Wednesday - Friday

This Friday, October 14th is the deadline for Congressional Committees to submit recommendations for federal deficit reduction to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or "Super Committee"). The Super Committee is a bipartisan, bicameral body tasked with developing a plan that cuts $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. These are very serious conversations and decisions and as the process moves forward, we must work to ensure that federal cuts don’t harm critical programs for people with chronic diseases and disabilities, including people living with multiple sclerosis.

The National MS Society sent a letter to each member of the Super Committee urging it to protect MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. To read the Society's letter, click here.

Congressional input is valuable. As the October 14th deadline approaches, take a few minutes this Wednesday through Friday to call your members of Congress and let them know what is important to you. Talking points and phone numbers are listed below.

• Call 1-866-414-6376 to reach your U.S. Representative. You will hear a pre-recorded message. Enter your zip code using the numbers on your touch-tone phone. You will be connected to your Congressperson’s office.

• Call 1-866-414-7494 to reach your U.S. Senators. Again, you will hear a pre-recorded message and will need to enter your zip code. You will then be asked whether you want your call to go to your state’s junior Senator or your senior Senator. After making your selection, your call will be directed to the appropriate office. You should make a phone call to each Senator’s office.

• Be sure to call your U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators—every member is important!

Here is a sample script you can use:"Hi, my name is ____(name)______. I’m a voter from ____(give your home town)___ as well as an advocate for the National MS Society. May I please speak to the staff person who handles health care issues?

Talking Points to Health Staffer:Today, the National MS Society is joining with other patient advocacy groups to ask Members of Congress to consider how deep cuts in health spending will impact patients.

Reducing investment in medical research and public health care coverage may save money now, but this will lead to even higher costs in the future if the health of Americans decline as a result of the cuts. Protecting investments in health includes areas such as:

• Protecting funding for MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and National Institutes of Health and,

• Maintaining entitlement programs for persons living with disabilities by rejecting changes to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, which would result in reduced access to and/or quality of services for eligible individuals.

Dramatic cuts in these two areas would dramatically impact me [and my family]. [Share your personal story.]

Please tell Representative/Senator ___(insert name)____ to consider the impact that cutting health spending would have on me and the rest of the nation. Thank you."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Recognizing the Contributions of People with Disabilities

Through Presidential Proclamation, President Barack Obama publicly declared October 2011 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This proclamation recognizes the contributions that people with disabilities make every day and the vital role they play within our nation’s workforce and society.

The proclamation for the National Disability Employment Awareness Month was first introduced more than 20 years ago and while significant strides have been made—for instance through passage and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act—there remains great room for growth. President Obama explains, “Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains too high -- nearly double the rate of people without disabilities -- and reversing this trend is crucial." To combat this issue, the Administration is promoting initiatives that will integrate people with disabilities and the elderly into our workforce in a more effective way. This includes more hiring of persons with disabilities, ensuring the workplaces are accessible, and promoting accessible public transportation.

To read the full Presidential Proclamation, click here.