Activist Joins Country Legend in Push for Parity

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Michelle Gilligan moved to Nashville to pursue her dream of becoming a successful country singer. Having worn a prosthetic limb since she was 18 months old, she was shocked to find out that her insurance company in Tennessee would not cover the cost of her leg. She decided to do something about it.

She organized a parity benefit concert for the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) and the Mending Limbs Organization, Franklin, Tennessee. Held October 12, the event was headlined by Kix Brooks of the award-winning country duo Brooks & Dunn.

Brooks, Jennifer Hanson, Baillie and the Boys, Nashville Star contestant Joshua Stevens, Sutton Parks, and Todd Sansom all performed along with Gilligan.

A portion of the concert proceeds will help support the ACA's advocacy program. The concert was also aimed at raising awareness for the need for prosthetic parity legislation in Tennessee and across the country.

The funding and media coverage from the inaugural benefit will help to build and enhance support for prosthetic parity as the ACA readies to advance legislation in the 2009 session. The state law will ensure that amputees with health insurance have access to prosthetic care by creating a consistent standard for benefits and financial requirements in private insurance coverage.

Federal bills requiring insurance parity for prosthetic care were recently introduced in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives with bipartisan sponsorship.

The concert also provided support for the Mending Limbs Organization, a new foundation to provide funding for prosthetic care for amputees in Tennessee whose health insurers severely limit coverage for prosthetic limbs. With the passion and commitment of advocates like Gilligan, the ACA will continue to succeed.

Morgan Sheets is the national advocacy director for ACA's Action Plan for People with Limb Loss (APPLL) initiative. She can be reached at  APPLL@amputee-coalition.org . For more information, visitwww.amputee-coalition.org/advocacy/index.html

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