Home - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content

Join the MS Action Network, the center for advocacy at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Together, we represent the interests of people with MS as important policy decisions are made in both the public and private sectors. Our advocacy is focused on: federal funding for MS research; quality health care; long-term care; disability rights; and health insurance and prescription drug coverage. The MS Action Network works on these important issues at the federal, state and local levels.


Our History
For more than 55 years, the National MS Society has been one thing people with MS can count on: on a personal level and in the public arena. In 1946 — before advocacy was a household word — the National MS Society began advocating for people with multiple sclerosis. Our first victory came four years later: in 1950, Congress established the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Work at NINDS impacts millions of Americans and it receives over $1.3 billion in federal funds annually. Nearly $60 million of that money goes directly to MS research.

Back to Top


Advocacy Priorities
The Society continues to advocate for research moneys and the healthcare rights of people with MS. We strive to promote public policy in the best interest of the disability community. Whether it’s the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Ticket To Work Act, or ongoing budget increases at the National Institutes of Health, the Society’s integrated nationwide advocacy has been crucial.
We strongly support the following:
  • Prescription coverage of the MS drugs
  • Home- and community-based long-term care
  • Healthcare reform and patients’ rights
  • Funding for Social Security, Medicare, and Medi-Cal
  • Work incentives and other programs that keep people with disabilities
    employed
  • Increased funding for the National Institutes of Health
  • Housing, transportation, and other services that support independent
    living

Full-time staff members work solely on advocacy from our public policy office in Washington, DCand from our chapter offices in Northern California. Each year, volunteers from our chapter also attend advocacy action days on Capitol Hill and in Sacramento, bringing our message to lawmakers.

Learn more about current hot topics in advocacy or for more information, contact Stewart Ferry via email or at 1-800-344-4867, (510) 268-0572.

Back to Top


Government Relations Committee
Locally, our Government Relations Committee sets the Chapter’s legislative priorities. A nonpartisan body, it monitors and advocates for legislation beneficial to the disability community.

The Committee’s advocacy efforts include face-to-face meetings with municipal and state lawmakers. It meets quarterly and is comprised of volunteers, including people with MS, their loved ones, legal professionals, and other experts.  For more information, you can read the current Government Issues Action Report.

You can help! For more information, contact Stewart Ferry via email or at 1-800-344-4867, (510) 268-0572.

Back to Top


MS Action Network
The MS Action Network is the center for advocacy at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Together, we represent the interests of people with MS as important policy decisions are made in both the public and private sectors. Our advocacy is focused on: federal funding for MS research; quality health care; long-term care; disability rights; and health insurance and prescription drug coverage. The MS Action Network works on these important issues at the federal, state and local levels.

Join the National MS Society’s MS Action Network. It’s a simple way to influence the governmental process. People with MS and their friends and relatives comprise this grassroots lobbying network, including more than 350 of your neighbors in Northern California.

Members of the MS Action Network merely send a few form letters each year to their local, state, and federal legislators. Yet the commitment of members nationwide makes the National MS Society one of America’s most respected voices on healthcare issues.  Remember that you are a constituent and a voter.  Every voice counts!

 

Back to Top


Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network (MS-CAN)
Our MS Action Network and the Government Relations Committee work in concert with MS-CAN, the Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network. MS-CAN is an advocacy coalition formed by the six Society chapters serving the Golden State . It coordinates a unified, statewide response to political issues of concern to people with MS.

Chapters engage in letter-writing and telephone campaigns, as well as face-to-face meetings with state and local officials. Their grassroots efforts are essential to guarding the rights of people with disabilities. 

Priority issues for 2005 include:

  • Assured availability and affordability of public and private sector health insurance plans for all needed MS treatments and therapies
  • Increased access to affordable and community-based long-term care options for the 20-25% of individuals with MS who need long-term care at some point during their illness
  • Access to adequate, consistent and affordable drug coverage policies, and access guaranteed for all medically necessary prescription drugs
  • Continued enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to guarantee full and equal access to public and private services and employment for disabled Americans.

For more information you can, read the full 2005 Issues & Priorities document, check our hot topics in California Advocacy, or contact Stewart Ferry via email or at 1-800-344-4867, (510) 268-0572.

Back to Top


Cal-Neuro Alliance
The Chapter proudly played a pivotal role in founding the California Neuro Alliance. This coalition represents Californians affected by neurological conditions, their advocates, and their physicians. The mission of the California Neuro Alliance is to promote access to quality health care through education, public awareness, and advocacy. 
Organizations participating in the Cal-Neuro Alliance include the following respected agencies:
  • ALS Association
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Stroke Association (Division of the Heart Association)
  • Association of  California Neurologists
  • Brain Injury Association of America
  • Epilepsy Foundation of America ,  California Affiliates
  • Huntington’s Disease Society of America
  • Hydrocephalus Association
  • Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of California
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Parkinson’s Association
  • United Cerebral Palsy of the Golden Gate

Back to Top


Legislative Resource Center
Click here to read the Issue Paper on Medi-Cal managed care. For more information on the Cal-Neuro Alliance, contact Stewart Ferry via email or at 1-800-344-4867, (415) 230-6677.

Read the MS-CAN’s Legislative Report or you can go directly to the California Legislature website.

State Position Papers:
AB 2281 (Chan D-Oakland) High Deductible Health Plans
AB 2856 (Hancock D-Berkeley) Informed Consent for Off-Label Drugs
SB 1248 (Alquist D-San Jose) Nursing Home Resident Rights
SB 1312 (Alquist D-San Jose) Nursing Home Reform

Federal Position Papers:
S.1955 Oppose Bad Medice
Eliminate Medicare Rehab Therapy Caps
Support a 5% Funding Increase for NIH

Back to Top