The Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act

I’ve been trying to get more involved doing arthritis advocacy work and recently I’ve been sending emails to my senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. urging them support various arthritis issues and legislation. Here’s the transcript of the email I sent today to Representative Erik Paulsen (R). I have no idea if he actually reads any of these, but I figure that it can’t hurt to try, so I’ll keep sending them. Hopefully someone is reading them.

If you want to send an email or letter to urge your representative to support this legislation, click HERE.

Please Co-Sponsor the Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act!

March 9, 2012

Dear Representative Paulsen,

As someone deeply concerned about arthritis, I am writing to ask you to
become an original cosponsor of legislation to improve access to the
critical treatments that can keep me, and my loved ones, active and
productive citizens.  Biologic drugs can now prevent patients with
conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis,
from becoming disabled, seriously ill, or even dying.

Unfortunately, many health insurance policies are moving these critical
medications, such as biologics, into “specialty tiers” that utilize high
patient cost-sharing methods known as “co-insurance”.  This
fourth/specialty tier now commonly requires patients to pay a percentage
of the cost of medication – anywhere from 20% to 50%, which can often be
hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month for a single medication –
rather than a fixed co-payment amount.

Congressman David McKinley is introducing legislation later this month,
the Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act (PACTA), that would treat
these specialty drugs the same as Tier III non-preferred drugs.  Under his
legislation, commercial health insurers would impose the same co-payment
obligations for specialty drugs as they already do for Tier III
medications.  Providing insured patients access to these treatments will
allow me and many more of your constituents to remain in the workforce,
raise their families, and avoid becoming permanently disabled or seriously

I urge you to step forward and become an original co-sponsor of PACTA and
support your constituents who have chronic, life threatening, and
disabling conditions.  Please contact the Legislative Health Assistant in
Rep. McKinley’s office, at x54172, to become a co-sponsor of this

I have been on several of these “specialty” biologic drugs since about
2003 and I am also constantly in debt and trying to keep my head above
water to pay for these medications. If I don’t have the medication I will
most certainly become crippled. There are so many people out there in
similar situations to mine, and it’s not fair that we must be at the mercy
of the insurance companies and the drug companies just in order to live a
relatively normal life. People shouldn’t have to suffer because they can’t
afford to pay for medications. Please help.

Thank you very much.


8 thoughts on “The Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act

  1. I have already written. I write, email and call on a regular basis. I saw somewhere that face to face works the best but that won’t happen for me anyway. It is sad how things are slowly being taken away with the lack of affordable healthcare here in the US.

  2. That’s great that you do that! Oh I’m sure face-to-face would have more of an impact. But you’re right, most people can’t do that. I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to meet with legislators in person during the Arthritis Summit next month. Lack of affordable healthcare is going to turn into a major crisis for everyone at some point, never mind those who have chronic illnesses. Priorities are pretty screwed up in this country, if you ask me…

  3. I have just been diagnosed with this illness and am going through a state of shock as well as pain as I read up on this disease. I don’t know how to get through this. I hope that the bio drugs are made available foe everyone soon.

  4. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear of your diagnosis. So do you have RA? It’s scary when first diagnosed – I know how that feels. Don’t lose hope though. A lot of people who have RA are able to live normal lives and have their RA managed well. Feel free to personally email me if you want to. I’d be happy listen if you need someone to talk to.

    Hang in there!

  5. Thank you for your support. I was told I have psoriatic and rheumatoid. I am supposed to take Methotextrate soon. My symptoms came on suddenly about a month ago. I am so scared. I had to take a couple of weeks off from work because I am unable to hold a pen, type, or raise my hands very far. I hope this medicine workswhenI start. The pain is bad.

  6. Are you seeing a rheumatologist? I’ve been on methotrexate for about 12 years, I think. I never had any bad side effects from it. Did your doctor talk about trying you on prednisone for a brief period of time to get your flareup to go away? If you’re in terrible, debilitating pain maybe you should call your doctor again. When are you supposed to start the methotrexate? I’m not a doctor and I can’t give medical advice other than to suggest that you keep talking to your doctor about what’s going on with you and your pain level. You shouldn’t have to be suffering this bad. Try to relax a little bit too. I’m sure right now feels like a horrible nightmare, but you will get through it and things will get better. They will! This is a nasty, insanely painful disease. But there are doctors and nurses and treatments out there that can really help. You are your best advocate in getting the care you need. I hope you feel better SOON!

  7. I am not supposed to take prednisone because I have elevated eye pressure. I start methotrexate today. I will start it in the evening because it might make me sleepy. Did that happen to you?
    I would email you directly, but I can’t locate your email address.

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