We’ve Got Parity! How ’bout you?

MegaphoneFor many of us, our high school days are nothing more than a faint memory. For others, they’re as fresh as yesterday – or at least last May! No matter how vivid those memories may be, there will be things said or something we hear that bring them flooding back. Some are pleasant, while others……not so much. Regardless, it is something we’ve all experienced. For many of us, if I were to chant, cheerleader style: “We’ve got Spirit? Yes we DO! We’ve got Spirit! How ’bout you?”, many reading this would spring to their feet, join in, and even demonstrate their version of the proper hand and body motions.

Uh….hey, HEY…..be careful! Those hamstrings haven’t experienced that movement in a long, LONG time.

Ok, where was I? Oh yes, reminding you of a high school cheer. Why do that? Well, there is something about the message in that cheer that is relevant to us today in the United States. That relevance being that SOME of us live in states where Drug Parity Legislation is in force, while others in states where that legislation is either tied up in some committee, swept under a rug, or simply not on anyone’s radar.

As of this post, there are 26 states that have adopted some form of parity legislation. So, I guess you could say we’re halfway there. But, just as the cheerleaders and fans would let out a sigh and say “WHAT?!?!?!” when the quarterback, on his way to scoring the winning touchdown, got sacked on the 50 yard-line, some of us are wondering what happened in our state.

This map clearly shows the separation between the “Have’s and Have Not’s.” If your state is blue, then congratulations! You have legislation that calls for your “oral chemotherapy agent” to be covered by insurers “no less favorably” than IV chemotherapy agents. As you can see, there’s a long way to go to see parity legislation in some states and we have lots of work to do.

(Click the map to enlarge. To return to the full page, click the back button.)

 parity map_larger


For those whose state is shaded green, indicating that parity legislation is active and being considered, we might wonder how to best help bring it to fruition. One way is by reaching out to our representatives and encouraging them to act on the legislation without delay. Those of us whose state is white, well, we’ve got lots to do.

As we quickly approach September, a month set aside for blood cancer awareness, we have a prime opportunity to begin putting in motion actions that could help make a difference for our community. Be proactive. Contact your elected officials. Share with them how the lack of drug parity in your state could impact your ability to afford life-saving medications even though you have health insurance.  Visit http://www.nationalcmlsociety.org/cml-awareness-day-2013-national-day-advocacy and learn more ways you can be a strong advocate for our community, then share this link so others can too.

Only when we bring awareness to the needs, will we see a difference being made. It is my hope that one day we can all say “We’ve got Parity!’

Let’s DO this!