Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015

Continuing the discussion from You're not covered any more:

If you elect to use this link, or if you have already contacted your Congressperson/Senators, let us know on this thread.

Thank you!

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I have already contacted my legislators. Thanks for putting this here for others.

After your suggestion to do this, I had a vague memory that I already did. Sure enough I did contact my senators and representative almost a year ago. I saved the response I got from Diane Feinstein, my senator:

senator@feinstein.senate.gov
10/7/14

to me

Dear Mr. [Terry]:

Thank you for your letter regarding Medicare coverage of continuous glucose monitors (CGM). I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

I understand that you support the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2014,” which was introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on July 30, 2014. This legislation would authorize Medicare Part B coverage of CGM devices, including those that administer insulin. Under current rules, traditional Medicare does not cover CGM devices, although individual Medicare Advantage plans may choose to do so. S. 2689 is currently pending consideration by the Senate Committee on Finance, of which I am not a member.

I recognize that effective blood glucose monitoring is essential to controlling diabetes, and I am encouraged by recent advances in technology that offer alternatives to more painful and time-consuming methods of glucose monitoring and insulin administration. Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind should the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2014” come before the full Senate for a vote.

Once again, thank you for writing. I hope you will continue to keep me informed of matters of importance to you. Should you have any further comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C., office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the nation are available at my website, feinstein.senate.gov. And please visit my YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for more ways to communicate with me.

Even though I have done this already, I will do again, since this is important!

@Terry4, great! The response you received was for essentially the same bill from last year; it had to be re-introduced with the 114th Congress, and it was on March 19th with both a Democrat and a Republican as the introducing co-sponsors. This is truly a bi-partisan issue. FYI, I just saw that Senator Feinstein has signed on as a co-sponsor on August 5. Of course, it would be great if Sen. Barbara Boxer and your Congressperson would sign up as well.

@KCsHubby_Dave, thanks for contacting your legislators. I hope you receive a better response than I have from my Florida delegation (but that’s a story for a different thread).

I just saw this post - and finished writing letters two both Senators here in MA. Can’t believe neither had signed on to support this!! Outrageous!
I plan to write to all the other heavy weights here in government and get the ball rolling!
Thank you so much for sharing the info!
justanordinarygyrl in Boston,MA

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I wrote my WA state Senators and Representative last year and again this year.
If anyone hasn’t seen this video of the Senate Hearing from July 15, 2015 it’s well worth watching. http://www.c-span.org/video/?327078-1/hearing-diabetes-research
There is much discussion about CGM and Medicare’s refusal. One of the panelists, Bob Amato, testified how he had managed to appeal the Medicare CGM denial and in his final appeal process was granted coverage by an Administrative Law Judge but later CMS overrode the Judges decision and cancelled his CGM coverage again!
Bob Amato’s testimony is in this video clip: http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4544728/bobamato

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Thanks for sharing the C-Span videos, @Franco . Bob Amato’s testimony is pretty heartbreaking - 4 years of appeals before receiving approval only to be thwarted at the end! He is just one of many seniors being deprived of the technology needed. This is especially true as we age and are more likely to lose hypo awareness (as he testified).

@justanordinarygyrl - thanks for sending letters. One of your Senators, Elizabeth Warren, has recently signed on as a co-sponsor. There are now 26 out of 100 Senators co-sponsoring the bill, and 133 Representatives in the House.

Keep your letters coming to increase the chance of getting a vote to move this bill to a full committee vote.

Bob Amato’s words are echoing in my mind. He said he was heartbroken to be denied, but that he was not giving up the fight.

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We are making some good progress gaining co-sponsors for this bill this year, but it will need a bigger push. There is an opportunity that Diabetes Hands Foundation is helping with through our affiliation with the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance to try to get this bill in front of a congressional hearing on diabetes - it’s been 5 years since they last held a diabetes-specific hearing. This is one of the bills that we hope to have presented, as well as a bill that would get diabetes education to more Medicare beneficiaries.

We will be sharing some social media messages and partnering with as many as 20 other organizations from the Alliance on Wednesday, September 30 for a big push from the community to contact members of congress on that day. Please keep your eyes out for further info. A hearing may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It’s a chance to be heard. Pun intended. #hearingdiabetesvoices Stay tuned!

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Thank you for the update @Melissa_Lee.

I know Congress has a lot on their plate after the Labor Day Recess, including funding the Government which ends @ midnight September 30. Won’t any messaging get lost that day?

The reality is that we will largely be reaching their legislative health aides with our messages, but the timing actually works out okay with the congressional calendar. We had originally targeted an October ask for a hearing during November (National Diabetes Month), but insiders have indicated that Congress would be more open to an October hearing on the bills, so we need to move a little faster.

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Congress is back from the Summer break and the CGM bill saw nine new cosponsors in the US House and 2 in the US Senate. Yay! Keep up the good fight DOC!

CGM remains the most cosponsored bill in Congress. See the DPAC score card for the latest: http://diabetespac.org/dpac/scorecard

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Thanks for the update. I see one of my Senators from Florida, Bill Nelson has climbed aboard, YAY!

Thanks for the update. I see that both of my California senators and my representative all signed on to support this bill.

I still never quite understand the process where we are getting support from a lot of our elected reps, but GovTrack gives these bills a 0% or 1% chance of passing. Do we have a chance of ever getting that to change?

Laddie,

Somebody sang about, “The long and winding road.” Some 4 piece band out of Liverpool I think.

To get the odds up we can get more cosponsors. We get it up over 200 in the house and 40-50 in the senate and the odds will improve. I think the realistic hope is that it gets enough cosponsors that the bill can get attached to a bigger bill and or it get enough attention that Medicare changes it views rather than be told what to do. Either is great.

The best thing we can do is to keep the issue in front of Congress and their Staff. We do that with email, calls and visits. We keep doing it over rand over. The process has a short attention span. A steady flow of CGM emails can help break their inside the beltway attention some.

Right now DC is all in a twitter about shutting the government down again.

That’s new, oh wait no it’s not.

Send the DPAC letter, send the JDRF letter. Drop by the local office.

Send thanks (DPAC’s email adjust to send thanks automatically) to let them know you appreciate support.

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You can send thanks. The DPAC email is 100% edible.

I will. Thank you for the reminder and your activism!

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Yum, tasty! :smile:

Yes, Yes, a thousand times, yes!

We just have to keep the calls and letters coming, because after the acrimony of the pending budget battles, there may be enough of our representatives and senators who are sick of the partisanship, to look for common ground.

I naively think that one or more of our elected officials might wake up when the dust settles and ask, “How about a bill that would support seniors? How about a bill that would support diabetics? Wait, there’s one bill that would do both?? Sign me up”

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Thanks, Bennet. I’ve always wondered how often I should write my representatives, but you’re saying multiple contacts are good. Will contact Franken through the JDRF site also.

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