Friday, April 17, 2009

Our First Venture into Politics

Elias and I had the unique opportunity to testify before a Texas Senate committee this past Wednesday regarding the need for insurance companies to cover prosthetics. Currently there are no mandates for insurance companies to pay for prosthetics, which is obviously a necessity and not a luxury.

Prosthetics are expensive! Elias' leg costs between $11,000-$15,000. And he needs a new one every 10 months or so. His current insurance policy only covers $2500 per year. That's it.

We once tried to get an independent policy for Elias. He was denied coverage by every single company. It was very discouraging!
We are very fortunate that we have the option to pay for his prosthetics at cost, and Chase has been able to swing some deals where we get some stuff for free (like Elias $1500 foot) in exchange for our input on the product. The great majority of people though do not have this advantage.

So a group of amputees in Texas have been working hard to get legislation passed that requires insurance companies to cover prosthetics at a reasonable amount. House Bill 806 was being voted on this week by the Senate committee so Elias and I were asked 24 hours in advance if we would go and testify.

Being there in the Capitol with a group of amputees, all of us passionate about our cause, was an incredible experience. We had the opportunity to testify before the committee and then visit the offices of a couple of the Senators. It was wild to be there in the middle of all the political activity and overhear all the coversations between legislators and lobbyists and citizens.

Best of all was getting to meet and connect with other amputees and hear their stories. Elias hit it off with an 11-year-old boy named Drew who lost his leg due to cancer at the age of six. The boys compared Mr. Stumpies and Elias got to ride in a wheelchair with him which was the highlight of his day. (Drew doesn't have a prosthetic leg right now because his new one is currently being made). These connections are always so significant for us and we're already making plans to go to San Antonio to see one of Drew's baseball games.

Here are a few pictures of our day. They were taken with my phone so aren't the greatest of quality, but I think you'll get the idea.

Elias and Drew become fast friends

Elias sits with others while they testify (I spoke later)

Future Senator Brown


Erin said...

Wow! I'm about to cry. That's amazing. I had no idea that prosthetics aren't covered by insurance. I'm so glad you went. And the picture of Elias and Drew had me tearing up.

Nani said...

I teared up on the picture of Elias and Drew also! Next I laughed with Senator Brown in the brown chair :-)

Kristen said...

That's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Everytime I see Elias he seems so grown... he's getting so glad you guys got to go and speak..hopefully it will make an impact!!!

Melissa Salgado( Moe)