Virginia Pulls Out All the Stops

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On January 24, amputees from across the state of Virginia visited the capitol to meet with lawmakers to urge them to support Senate Bill 645. SB 645 would require that prosthetic care be covered on par with other medical services. The lobby day was part of a series of events to support this legislation.

The bill was heard by the Commerce Committee on January 28. An amendment was added to require that the state employee health benefit plan also be required to cover prosthetic care. The bill will now move on to the Senate Finance Committee.

It has been a long road to put this bill before the state assembly. Senator Patsy Ticer introduced the bill in 2007. It was referred to a special commission that is charged with reviewing all proposals that mandate health benefits. They held a hearing in September. More than 50 people from across the state came out in support of prosthetic parity.

The legislation was also analyzed by several government agencies. In the end, the reports agreed that the bill was not only low cost, but would also result in savings to the state and insurance companies by preventing lost wages and secondary conditions.

Very few bills pass out of the special commission, but Virginia's passed in November. Originally an opponent to the parity legislation, Chairman Lee Ware changed his vote after reading the reports and hearing from hundreds of supporters throughout the state.

There are hundreds of people in Virginia who are going without the care they need because of the restrictions on prosthetic care. The ACA is committed to doing everything it can to pass this bill.

Morgan Sheets is the national advocacy director for ACA's Action Plan for People with Limb Loss (APPLL) initiative. She can be reached at For more information, visit

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