At this pivotal time in our nation's health care debate, the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) National Coalition held an advocacy day at the U.S. Capitol to raise awareness among members of Congress of the health care needs of those suffering from lupus.
"It is critical that we are in D.C. now to make sure that the 1.5 million Americans with lupus have a voice in the health care discussions. Lupus is a chronic and debilitating autoimmune disease," said Margaret G. Dowd, president of the LRI. "It is essential for lupus patients that health care reform legislation provide access to coverage along with maximum flexibility in treating the wide range of lupus symptoms. The health care system must offer patients and providers the ability to manage the disease, along with education on its diagnosis and treatment."
Members of the LRI National Coalition, which has deep roots in the nation's major urban centers, converged on the halls of Congress to meet with their representatives and urge them to support the following essential principles in the development of final legislation:
- Coverage should be made available to all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
- Lifetime caps on health benefits should be eliminated.
- Provisions should be included that are dedicated to prevention and wellness, geared toward education for those with and at risk for chronic diseases, and designed to provide information on how best to manage and prevent these diseases.
- The legislative approach should work to eliminate racial disparities in chronic diseases such as lupus, which disproportionately affects minorities.