Yes We Can! How Moms and Dads Changed the Law

Jan Gambino Health Guide
  • Remember the Obama supporters chanting, “Yes We Can!” over and over during the recent presidential campaign? Americans everywhere were getting involved in the election and political process for the first time. While I am a registered voter and try to make an informed decision in the voting booth, I seldom get involved in political activities. Last year was different because I joined other parents and helped to change the law.


    As a parent and advocate for infants and children with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and related digestive disorders, I know how expensive medical formula can be. When a baby or child has a severe food allergy, food intolerance or metabolic condition sometimes the best medication is not a pill or capsule but a very expensive formula that is only available by prescription. The formula may be called an amino acid elemental formula or a medical food however most families are more familiar with the commercial names such as Neocate, Elecare and Vivonex.

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    With the support of the Children’s Milk Allergy and Gastrointestinal Coalition or Children’s Magic (, parents, doctors and concerned citizens went to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis, Maryland to talk with our legislators, write letters and present testimony to committees about this problem and ask for assistance. I called my state legislator and met with a member of his staff one day last winter. I talked about specific families I knew who were affected. Medical formula such can be a very effective treatment and help a baby grow and thrive. Despite having comprehensive medical insurance, there was no coverage for the formula. I know of families who maxed out their credit cards and had trouble paying the mortgage due to the cost of the formula.


    We asked for a change to the law in the state of Maryland that would ensure that all insurance companies would be obligated to pay for the medical formula.  I am happy to report that our message was heard and the Maryland State Legislature did approve a bill to require private insurance companies to cover medical formula.


    Other states with parent powered medical formula bills include:







    New Hampshire

    New York


    Two other states joined Maryland in supporting coverage for medical formula in 2008:



    Rhode Island


    If you are interested in learning more about medical formula insurance coverage in your state or advocating for coverage in your state, log on  to the Children’s Magic website at You can sign up to receive information about the organization and efforts to change the law.


    So remember, parents have the power to change the law. Yes we can!


Published On: January 16, 2009