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The Advocacy Sessions
Many of us who care about health issues are closely monitoring the actions of President Obama and his new Administration as they relate to revamping health care in the U.S. While we don’t know what the final outcome will be, suffice it to say most insiders believe there has never been a better time to see real progress made on health care reform.
What does this mean for insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility? Several factors are at play, both at the federal and state level. They include:
What are the chances that a federal insurance mandate will ever get passed? Is a federal bill the best approach to solving the insurance problem? Will a federal bill help raise awareness and open a window of opportunity to educate Congress about infertility?
Should the infertility community focus on getting coverage for federal employees first, and use that approach to highlight the issues to the Administration?
As the debate about regulating the fertility industry grows louder, can the infertility community seize the opportunity and strongly advocate for insurance coverage? Regulation alone could potentially be devastating to patients.
In the absence of a federal mandate can the infertility community find other ways to get insurance coverage for infertility treatment?
Health insurance mandates are traditionally a state issue (very few federal mandates deal with specific health issues). With budget crises facing most state governments, is the environment right for introducing legislation on a state-by-state basis?
Is grassroots advocacy enough to generate change at the state and federal level? These issues will not be solved overnight; are the grassroots advocates committed to this issue for the long haul?
How does the medical community feel about insurance coverage? Will they support or oppose efforts to expand coverage for infertility?
What are the positive outcomes of insurance coverage? Have all of the positive factors been properly researched and documented?
Can the infertility community—both at the grassroots and national level, patient and professional—come together to support an approach, and will funding be made available to support these efforts?
With healthcare reform a priority for the Administration in general, are there other creative ways to get infertility included in the debate?
Most studies concerning access to care universally prove that access is limited to those who can afford it. The question is: how many people are denied access? I, like many others, believe that a significant number of infertility patients never receive the correct and proper care in a timely manner. However, to achieve access to care for all who need it, the infertility community must come together as one voice, with one goal and one approach, to really have a chance to make a difference.
Is this important to you? Are you prepared to make your voice heard? Do you desire to have an impact and make a difference? I hope that I have given you something to think about. The issue of insurance coverage is complex and unfortunately does not have a straight and problem-free path. But we must take advantage of the current climate to make our voices heard.
Barbara Collura is Executive Director of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. For more information about RESOLVE and its advocacy efforts, visit www.resolve.org. If you are interested in being an advocate for infertility issues, contact email@example.com.