Monday, August 13, 2012


Congress is now officially on summer recess, holding town meetings and other public events to talk with constituents about what’s going on in DC.  This is a terrific opportunity to talk with your elected officials about issues important to the MS Community!  Upon returning after Labor Day, the House will only have about 8 legislative days for the remainder of the year so whatever they will accomplish, they’ll have to do fast!

CRPD UPDATE:  The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) did not have a vote on the Senate floor yet – thank you to everyone who contacted their Senator on this!  The goal is to get a ratification vote in September when the Senate returns.  For anyone having a meeting with a U.S. Senator or his/her staff during August recess, feel free to bring this leave behind, highlighting our support for the treatyBut remember, this is ONLY for Senators, not Representatives.

Health Reform Interactive Map and Infographic.  The Commonwealth Fund recently announced creation of an interactive map of each state and its progress with regard to health insurance exchange development. has an Infographic about how States are sprinting toward Benchmark Plan Decisions.

State Health Facts.  There’s a great website that allows you to find health facts about each state, either by state or category.  Check it out here.

Medicare/ACA Facts and Fiction.  The Center for Medicare Advocacy has compiled a list of falsehoods that have spread far and wide about Medicare and the health reform law.  Myths from ‘death panels’ to illegal aliens getting free health care are all de-bunked.

One Trillion Dollars.  That’s how much money was saved over the past decade due to availability of generic drugs according to this study.

Telehealth.  Massachusetts became the 16th state to enact legislation requiring re-imbursement of telehealth services.

Autoimmune Disease legislation.  Last issue I mentioned that Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle and Rep. Carolyn Maloney had introduced the Mary Colella Autoimmune Disease Awareness Act of 2012.  It now has a bill number – HR 6218. 

Short film about MS. produced a short film about a young man who chose to break up with his girlfriend because he was diagnosed with MS, rather than tell her about it and work through it together – there’s more though, you can watch it here.

Bipartisan Call to Action.  Former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D) and Bill Frist (R) recently penned this piece about the need to for affordable health care and the need to work together to solve our health care problems.  One can only hope the sentiment starts to spread.  Frist and Daschle lead the Bipartisan Policy Center which recently held a day-long seminar on the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, Medicaid-expansion, and other related health care issues.

Consider listening instead of reading. The Internet offers thousands of audio files on every topic imaginable. Audio books are a popular download. Many audio books are released at the same time the print edition is published. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress provides many services to people with visual or physical disabilities, who may borrow audio books, magazines and equipment free.  This information is now posted to the National MS Society site as well.

U.S. Dominance in Medical Innovation on the slide.  The CEO of Lilly wrote a sobering piece on how America is slipping in terms of medical innovation and what the future holds if we don’t reverse this trend.  In another opinion piece it talks about the New Frontier (investments in science, space, etc.) and the Great Society (Medicaid, Medicare, etc.) and the need for the ‘parents’ (Democrats) to spearhead ‘fixing’ things, noting that the New Frontier initiatives are being starved and the crown jewel, NASA, is just a shell now.  Agree or not – it’s an interesting piece.

Sequestration and finding Cures.  FasterCures posted this to their blog talking about how the proposed automatic spending cuts, or sequestration, could impact efforts to find cures.  The chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee recently released a report detailing how sequestration will impact non-defense sectors.

Serving Medicaid Population.  A recent report states that nearly one-third of physicians will no longer accept Medicaid patients.  New Jersey had the nation’s lowest rate of doctors taking new patients at 40%, while Wyoming had the highest, at 99%, according to a survey last year of doctors by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gaps in Coverage.  The Commonwealth Fund reports on gaps Americans have in their health care coverage.  Eighty-nine million people— 36.3 percent of Americans ages 4 to 64—were uninsured for at least one month between 2004 and 2007, including 23 million Americans who lost coverage more than once.

Electoral Vote Tie?  Did you know that there are essentially 97 different scenarios under which the vote for president in the electoral college could be a 270-270 tie?  Pretty interesting read for you political junkies!

Twoosh.  The President coined the term for a master twitterer playing of the Nike ‘swoosh’ – who know if it will catch on, but if you tweet, be sure to follow @MSActivist!  There’s no future in ‘twoosh’ for the president unfortunately since it’s already an App!

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