By Joseph Wassermann, Team Co-leader
The Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Team, which I refer to as the AGA Octet, has been busy since our last article in The PCB Advocate. No, we are NOT a string or woodwind ensemble. We are simply eight advocates for governmental affairs and various issues that impact us as individuals who happen to have a variety of visual impairments.
Three of our work group, Bobbie Simmons, Jackie Wissinger, and Christine Hunsinger attended this year’s ACB Legislative Seminar held in Washington D.C. After hearing their reports, we immediately went to work on the first two imperatives–HR3535, The Cogswell-Macy Act and HR729, The Medicare Demonstration of Low Vision Devices Act which affects many of us who need various reading aides. Some of you made calls concerning HR3535 during our call-in day in April. Unfortunately though, many of you did not take the few minutes necessary to pick up the phone and do your best to influence your U.S. Congressman. A few of our team members have been helping PCB members who reside in the home districts of Congress members serving on the House Education Committee write letters seeking support for H.R. 3535.
We asked you to contact your Congressman again during the week of June 13-17 to garner support for H.R. 729. , I hope you can feel good about yourself because you DID call and share the many reasons why covering low-vision aids is vital to the independence of many Americans.
As we continue our work, we are trying to unravel the many conundrums in the insurance business concerning medications used by people with various eye conditions and individuals who have diabetes. We are looking at the transportation situation as a whole with particular emphasis on the shared ride systems throughout the state.
There really is much to do. All of us should be gearing up for a very important election in November. Please help us with all of the call-ins when we ask for your participation. All of us “marching” and “moving” together can make a difference. It has worked with the 21st century Communications Act, securing Social Security information in accessible formats, acquiring talking labels for our prescriptions and more. With your help, we will eventually break through more barriers.