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Policymakers across both aisles have had mixed viewpoints when it comes to cultivating cannabis, not in the literal sense, but as it relates to bills that would permit individuals to access medical cannabis. Several states, however, are expanding or considering expanding their medical cannabis programs, including Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. In addition, some federal institutions have taken steps to improve access: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Congress.

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After a two-year effort put forth by the Illinois Fair Care Coalition, a group of patient and provider groups co-led by U.S. Pain Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation, children and adults living with chronic conditions will no longer face potentially harmful prescription coverage changes during the health plan year. Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 4146 into law at the end of August, a bipartisan measure that will help protect families from an unfair insurance practice known as non-medical switching.

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Milestone events took place on April 3 and 11 as U.S. Pain Foundation hosted a legislative breakfast and two advocacy days, a first for the organization, which previously has hosted them only in collaboration with allied partners. The focus of both days was bills that enhance patient safety by limiting the practice of forced medication switches, known as nonmedical switching.

The April 3 program was held at the Connecticut State Capitol and featured keynote legislative speakers, a panel discussion with patients impacted by health coverage interruptions, and a summary of legislation proposed this session. Rep. Michelle Cook and Sen. Heather Somers, cosponsors of Senate Bill 379, addressed those in attendance at the breakfast, with Cook revealing her personal experience with nonmedical switching.

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Ensuring network adequacy, transparency and uninterrupted service are all components of legislation recently signed into law by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. An important patient protection measure initiated by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) and supported by U.S. Pain Foundation, House Bill 311 creates  new safeguards for Illinoisans impacted by one of the latest trends in health care: the narrowing of physician networks. The law is known as the Network Adequacy Transparency Act (NAT Act).

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Contact: Shaina Smith
860-315-7307
shaina@uspainfoundation.org

MIDDLETOWN, CONN. – Feb. 17, 2017 –The Illinois Fair Care Coalition, made up of 14 concerned patient and provider groups, praised new legislation designed to provide safeguards for consumers enrolled in prescription coverage plans. The grassroots partnership joined with state representatives and bill sponsors Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) to announce House Bill 2694, which would prevent Illinoisans from having their prescription coverage interrupted during the health plan year through a practice known as non-medical switching.

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