Why Take Action

1. People with arthritis are the experts on living with disease
One of the most important voices in discussions about health care belongs to those most affected by health policy—the person living with chronic disease (or "consumer"). As people living with chronic disease, consumers can provide critically important perspectives in discussions about health policy; yet too often, consumers' voices are not heard.

Think about it. Who has a more intimate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses existing in the health care system than a person who must navigate it daily? Who knows more about the importance of being able to access the very best, most effective medicines? Who knows more about the damage that poorly considered health policy can do to flesh and bone? Who cares more about your quality of life-your ability to work, care for your family, and participate in society? The answer to all of these questions is clear: You do.

Increasingly, government makes decisions based on the financial bottom line, not in the best interests of consumers or based on current "best clinical practice" standards. They routinely make decisions behind closed doors-decisions which directly affect the health and quality of life of consumers.

As the people most affected by these decisions, people living with disease must look for ways to be heard, and take every opportunity available to advocate for fairness and excellence in health care. You can advocate to government, state your opinions in the media and participate whenever possible in consultation processes with health care decision-makers.

2. People with arthritis face discrimination on a daily basis
Discrimination against people with arthritis occurs on many different levels-from a friend refusing to believe a child can have arthritis, to an employer refusing to modify a workspace, to one level of government refusing to pay for the treatments proven effective by a different level of government.

This is not a well-understood form of discrimination, but it is real, as anyone who has faced it can attest. The proof can be found in the numbers.

A recent JointHealth™ investigation revealed that arthritis research funding amounts to just pennies per person with the disease, compared to hundreds per person with cancer or HIV. See the November 2007 issue of JointHealth™ monthly for details. The same investigation also showed proof of media discrimination against arthritis.

3. Providing proper treatment and care for people with arthritis makes financial sense
We know that government is always looking for solutions that make financial sense, and we believe that creating a health care system that provides the best possible treatment and care to people living with chronic disease makes sense, socially and economically.

In the January 2008 issue of JointHealth™ monthly, we discuss the tremendous costs burden that not properly treating arthritis places on the healthcare system.

We hope you will join with us to make sure that the people making the decisions get that message-loud and clear.