Thanks to advocacy efforts by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) and others, the Safe Step Act moves to the full Senate floor for the first time.

“This is a huge step in the legislative process,” says PHA President and CEO Matt Granato. “While there is more work ahead before this bill becomes law, PHA celebrates this milestone achievement, which wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts of PHA advocates and the amazing PHA advocacy staff.”

Those who advocated for the legislation include people with pulmonary hypertension, caregivers and health care professionals, as well as other patient organizations.

The Safe Step Act aims to limit step-therapy requirements for people with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and other life-threatening conditions. Step therapy refers to insurance company policies that require people to try less expensive treatments than those their doctors prescribe. The insurance companies  authorize prescribed treatment only after the less expensive treatment fails.

Congress introduced the Safe Step in 2017, but this is the first time legislation has moved beyond committee. That means all members of the Senate will be able to review and eventually vote on the bill. The next step is for advocates to convince the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce to send its version of the bill to full House floor. Both the House and Senate must approve a bill before it can become law.

In the past six years (three congressional sessions), PH advocates have sent more than 2,500 messages to legislators in support of this bill. Thanks to the highly successful advocacy challenge at PHA 2022 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions; numerous PH Professional Network Symposium advocacy days; and other advocacy events, Congress has heard the power of the PH community’s voice.

To add your voice to PHA’s advocacy efforts, sign up for our monthly Advocacy newsletter, and look for for more actions to support this legislation. To get involved in advocacy, email us, or call 301-565-3004 x758.

Colleen Brunetti, immediate past president, PHA Board of Trustees; PHA CEO Matt Granato; and Katie Kroner, PHA vice president of advocacy and patient engagement, meet with the staff of Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in March on Capitol Hill.

PH advocates Monica Penaranda, Heather Mayberry, Rita Orth, Nicole Sean-Hogan and Stephen Carter-Hicks meet virtually in May 2022 with Carl Roberts, senior legislative assistant to Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.).

Advocate Perry Mamigonian meets with Denise Sahatdjian, field representative of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) in September 2022.

Advocate Jeff Harpp and PHA’s Jaeger Spratt meet with Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and legislative assistant Audrey Arbogast in August 2022.

PHPN Symposium attendees gather at the Capitol in 2019.