The good news in the House of Representatives is that a discussion of the IVIG patient access problems came up during the Ways and Means Committee’s consideration of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 (CHAMP) at the beginning of August. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who introduced the Medicare IVIG Access Act of 2007, H.R. 2914, offered the whole bill as an amendment to be included in the CHAMP Act. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, responded that he believed that Mr. Brady had correctly identified the problems with IVIG. He mentioned his personal experience using IVIG and added that he would be pleased to work with Mr. Brady toward a solution.
Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA), ranking Republican Member on the Committee spoke in support of the amendment and specifically reiterated that IVIG is a real problem and emphasized its importance. He stated that everyone keeps saying that there’s a problem, but nothing gets done to fix it. He urged that they continue to work on it together. Mr. Rangel (D-NY), Chairman of the full committee, assured him that the commitment to work on the issue is there and that he recognizes the urgency for the patients to get something done. As a result of this public commitment to work together on a solution, Rep. Brady withdrew his amendment – rather than risk a negative vote on IVIG at that time. The thoughtful conversation that took place between this powerful committee’s leadership is encouraging to patients receiving IVIG. It signals willingness to move forward on this issue. However, it is crucial that Members of Congress continue to hear from patients, physicians, family and friends that access to IVIG is an important issue and must be addressed this year.
What you need to do: Contact your Representative and express your pleasure that Democratic and Republican leaders of the Ways and Means Committee pledged to work together on IVIG issues and emphasize the importance to find a solution this year. Visit the Representative’s District office in your state or call their Washington office and request the Representative to cosponsor H.R. 2914 and press for an IVIG solution this year. Attend a town hall meeting in your area and ask for the same thing. Write to your Representative through IDF Action Alert and explain the importance of finding a solution this year. Ask the Representative to contact Chairman Stark and request that the Ways and Means Committee include an IVIG fix in any Medicare legislation that emerges this year.
Opportunities in the Senate
Senate consideration of the Children’s Health Insurance Program remained limited to that program only; it did not broaden the scope to include Medicare provisions. However, it is believed that the Senate will be working on Medicare provisions during early September. These provisions might be included in discussions the Senate has with the House to work out differences between their two bills as they reach agreement on a bill that both bodies can pass.
What you need to do: As you did with your Representative, contact both of your Senators and ask them to find a solution to Medicare IVIG problems this year. Request that they ask the Senate Finance Committee (which has jurisdiction over Medicare and its provisions dealing with payment for IVIG) and ask that IVIG provisions be included in the Senate’s Medicare package and in any agreement that emerges from discussions with the House.
Sending an E-mail to Your Representative and Senators is Easy!
It only takes 2 steps:
1.) Please follow this link: http://www.primaryimmune.org/capwiz_frame.htm
2.) Under “Take Action,” please complete both alerts (the first one is for Representatives, and the second one is for Senators).
Please, even if you have already sent a letter, please do so again!! It is crucial that your Representative and Senators hear from you, their constituents.