The Letters are Helping

Got an update from my Stop NHL board tonight on the Bexxar/Zevalin issue, so wanted to share it with all of you who have taken the time to write and email your representatives.

ACTION ALERT: ALL, Especially NM, OR,IA,UT,ME,AZ,KY,ID,KS,NV residents

RE: The CMS issue that will make two potential lymphoma cures unavailable to patients because of calculation and classification errors.

We have just learned that the Senate bill that will include "our" language to save Bexxar and Zevalin will be marked up on Friday, not (today) as we had originally thought. We understand that this delay is actually encouraging because members want this to happen and they need extra negotiating time.

It appears that Senator Bingaman of New Mexico is close to agreeing with the members who want this. We can all help to persuade him by calling his office at (202) 224-5521. You probably won't get through to his assistant for CMS issues, but you can leave a message that you are calling about CMS-1392-FC as it relates to Bexxar and Zevalin and say that you hope Senator Bingaman will agree to hold the 2007 rates in place during 2008.

Senators are more responsive to their own constituents, so if any of you live in New Mexico, you will carry more weight than those of us who don't live there - so you may be able to get through to his aide for CMS affairs, who is Frederick Isasi. The rest of us can leave messages with the person answering the phone. Every message counts at this point - but New Mexico, we need you more than ever!

Thanks for your continued support! The saga continues and we'll update you as we know more.

Other Senators that have not committed include:

Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Nicole Tapay: 202-224-5244

Charles Grassley (R-IA)
(202) 224-3744

Orrin Hatch ( R-UT)
Pattie L. DeLoatche : (202) 224-5251

Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME)
Bill Pewen: 202-224-5344

Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Jennifer Romans: 202-224-4521

Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Holly Santry: 202-224-4343

Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Katie Oppenheim: 202-224-6142

Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jennifer Swenson: 202-224-4774

John Ensign (R-NV)
Andrew Shaw: 202-224-6244

And from Karl's Lymphomation site, here is an idea of what to say if you call, as well as a complete list of contacts to call.

You might tell the receptionist:

My name is ______. Please direct my message to the health staff. I am asking the Senator to amend the CMS ruling to restore reimbursement rates for Bexxar and Zevalin to 2007 rates during 2008. (I/my friend/my loved one) needs this invaluable treatment for lymphoma -- a common, and sometimes fatal, blood cancer. Thank you.