Monday, July 07, 2008

US Senators Voting 7/8/2008 on "Lupus" Bill ... important to many of you

Thanks to all who forwarded this to me ... sorry I'm getting to it so late. Here is a link with all of our Senators contact information if you wish to voice your opinions on this bill. I know that many of our support group suffer from lupus and similar diseases and many have had seizures.

Contact your Senators Now!
Senate to vote on Tuesday, July 8
Vote YES on HR 6331
On June 24th the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act.  H.R. 6331 clarifies off-label drug usage, protects coverage of drugs that people with chronic diseases use, and allows coverage of select seizure medications through Medicare Part D.

Now we need your help to ensure the Senate ALSO approves H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.

The Senate is likely to vote on this bill on Tuesday, July 8 so please contact your Senator on Monday!

Why this bill is important to people with lupus:

Clarifies off-label drug usage
- The only drugs that currently have an indication for lupus are corticosterioids including prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone; hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®); and aspirin. All other medications prescribed for lupus are considered off-label. It is important that people with lupus continue to have access to medications that are not currently approved for lupus.
• Protects special classes of prescription drugs
- If enacted, the law would require health plans to cover under Medicare Part D most classes of drugs for chronic diseases like lupus.
Provides coverage of the benzodiazepines and barbiturates
- These drugs are currently excluded under Part D. Coverage is important because some physicians may prescribe these drugs for people with lupus
who also may have seizures.

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