Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Letter to a California State Assemblyman & my personal followup to its author

June 23, 2008

The Honorable Mervyn Dymally
California State Assembly
California State Capitol, Room 6005
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Assembly member Dymally:

Re: SB 1198 (Kuehl) Durable Medical Equipment - SUPPORT

A few years ago, you spoke to our organization, Cal Neuro Alliance, at our annual conference in Sacramento. I was very impressed with what you had to say and how you said it. The next day, while at the Capital building, our Advocacy team bumped into you in the hall and your graciousness was impeccable. I am a person with multiple sclerosis and my older brother also has MS.

As I am sure you are aware, SB 1198 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Health Committee tomorrow. I urge you to support this important bill which would require health insurers and health plans to offer coverage for durable medical equipment (DME), without a separate benefit cap, as part of their group contracts and policies. This is an important bill that will help disabled people who depend on durable medical equipment to live independent lives.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system that typically is diagnosed in young adulthood. MS can lead to physical, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms, as well as functional limitations. My brother and I have all those symptoms between us. For many people living with multiple sclerosis, durable medical equipment - especially wheelchairs, scooters and walkers - is critical to their ability to live independently. My brother would be significantly impacted in his personal life if he did not have access to the correct DME. However, private health plans and insurance coverage usually puts lower caps on DME than they place on other medical services. SB 1198 will address this gap in coverage by preventing group health insurance plans from placing special coverage limitations on DME and providing a much needed lifeline for individuals with MS to function at the highest level possible at home, at work, and in the community.

I appreciate your efforts on our behalf. I urge your support of this legislation.


My email to the author of this letter follows:

First, let me say I am addressing all those addressed in your previous email. Second, I remember first hand and very precisely the graciousness afforded by Assemblyman Dymally during our chance encounter. As the recipient of his gracious deference (it was deference I didn’t expect or solicit) to a man in a wheel chair, I can only echo your praise.

I feel I know without question where Assemblyman Dymally will come down on this issue. The Assemblyman demonstrated all things good during that chance encounter! He took the extra step to help his fellow man! It really didn’t take a lot of effort, but in the busy hustle bustle environment that is the California Capitol Building he took the time to pause and assist his fellow man!

Well done! I commend you for remembering and using that event as a springboard in a letter several years later.


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