April 25, 2013 marked a night of celebration for the primary immunodeficiency community. The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) welcomed stakeholders to Washington, DC for a reception to celebrate the Medicare IVIG Access Act becoming law and recognize the commitment of the community who worked for years to see this feat accomplished.
IDF was thrilled to welcome Representatives Kevin Brady and Doris Matsui to the celebration and present each of them with a special zebra award to commemorate this occasion.
Representative Doris Matsui represents the city of Sacramento, CA and its surrounding areas. She is an energetic and active Member of Congress, and serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over many healthcare issues and is a senior member of the powerful House Rules Committee. With all that she does for her District and for the country, we are delighted that she has been a dedicated advocate for our patient community. For several years, Representative Matsui has been a leader in seeking to make whole the Medicare IVIG home infusion benefit for our patient population. We are grateful for her co-sponsorship of the Medicare IVIG Access Act and her leadership in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Representative Kevin Brady is serving his 9th term in Congress, representing the 8th district of Texas. He holds the leadership post of Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which was very important to the success of our Medicare legislation. He has been an extraordinary leader in helping our patients, advocating on our behalf before the Department of Health and Human Services and in Congress. In 2007 he was the original lead sponsor on the IVIG legislation. In the 111th Congress, he sponsored two separate IVIG bills and in the 112th Congress just past, he was again the lead sponsor of the Medicare IVIG Access Act. Representative Brady’s passion and persistence convinced his committee, the leadership of the House and the entire House. His speech on the House floor just before passage of HR 1845 reflected his passion and determination. Representative Brady represents the best in Congress, he has been there to advocate for and protect a group of patients who do not have a large voice in our society.
IDF President & Founder Marcia Boyle acknowledged our wonderful sponsors and supporters who worked side-by-side with IDF advocating for IVIG access, including Baxter, CSL Behring, Grifols, IgGAmerica/US Bioservices/ASD/Amerisource Bergen and the Plasma Products Therapeutics Association.
Marcia also recognized the unwavering support of Patient Services, Inc., and she thanked Joan DaVanzo and Al Dobson of Dobson/DaVanzo who helped tremendously with cost data for the bill.
Also playing a huge role in the success of the bill were Hart Health Strategies and Capitol Hill staffers who worked with our principal sponsors Representatives Brady and Matsui, Senators Kerry and Alexander, and on the committee staffs.
Most importantly, we would not have reached this point without our tremendous volunteers – patients and families who sent over 10,000 letters and emails to Congress. They visited more than 500 offices on the Hill and a significant number more in district and state offices. Attending the event on behalf of these hundreds of dedicated individuals were Terry and Theresa Halper of Pennsylvania; Carol Ann Demaret of Texas; and Stefani and Ralph Bush of Massachusetts. Carol Ann and Stefani were responsible for touching the hearts of our two principal sponsors – in the House, Kevin Brady, courtesy of Carol Ann, and in the Senate, John Kerry, courtesy of Stefani.
Thank you to all who helped to make the Medicare IVIG Access Act the law of the land. You share with us in this historic victory for patient access. So, it’s time to celebrate—you’ve earned it!
Please enjoy more pictures from the reception on our flickr page.