Liberty arthritis advocate takes health care issues to Capitol Hill

[Liberty, MO—February 22, 2013] – Leah Stanley of Liberty will be traveling 1059 miles to Washington, D.C. in March to ask Congress to support people with arthritis through policies that will ensure more research, better treatments and greater access to care. Stanley will share her story of the daily struggle of living with arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability.

Stanley, who has suffered with Arthritis, will join nearly 350 other Arthritis Foundation advocates March 4-6 on Capitol Hill for the annual Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit.

Advocates will urge Congress to support HR460, a bill that that will make medications more affordable for patients with arthritis; fund a pediatric subspecialty loan repayment program to address the critical shortage of pediatric rheumatologists in the U.S.; and include 'post traumatic osteoarthritis’ and ‘rheumatoid arthritis’ in the Department of Defense research program.

“Insurance is supposed to spread the risk in an equitable fashion among everyone who is insured. Yet, specialty tiers don’t do this. I feel that I am being unfairly targeted because my illness requires me to take more expensive drugs,” said Stanley.

Patients now have access to the benefits of research through the discovery and development of drugs like biologics, but excessive cost-sharing makes it extremely difficult for many to afford. Stanley is among the 50 million Americans suffering from arthritis.

“Many people are finding themselves facing a huge financial burden simply to get the drugs their doctors have prescribed because of discriminatory insurance practices and others are being forced to travel hundreds of miles just to see the closest doctor,” says Michele Guadalupe, vice president of advocacy for the Arthritis Foundation. “These are reasons why the Arthritis Foundation is so committed to educating our lawmakers on the devastating toll arthritis takes on our nation’s health and economy.”

About the Advocacy Summit Arthritis Foundation’s 15th annual Advocacy Summit will be held March 4-6 in Washington, D.C. The summit will bring together nearly 350 key arthritis advocates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to meet with members of Congress to educate them that more needs to be done for people with arthritis.

About the Arthritis Foundation Striking one in every five adults, arthritis is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease and also the nation’s leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to reducing the impact of arthritis, which can severely damage joints and rob people of their ability to live normal lives, including children. The Foundation provides proven programs to help fight arthritis pain, pursues public policy on behalf of patients, and supports groundbreaking research for effective treatments and a cure.

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