You Can Join the Push to Make This Dream a Reality
By Ryan Geddie, Government Relations Specialist
Nothing says “DREAM” like imagining a better world for our community. One of the ways we’re working to turn that DREAM into a reality at the Amputee Coalition is by participating in a state-by- state legislative campaign to require coverage for prosthetic and orthotic devices designed for physical activity. This campaign began as So Kids Can Move, a name that recognized the goals and history of the movement. Today, because we believe movement is a right for all people, the campaign for coverage of prosthetic orthotic devices designed for physical activity is called So Every BODY Can Move. In 2021, Maine became the first state to adopt legislation requiring insurance coverage of prosthetic devices designed for recreational activity for people under the age of 19. The success of the Maine legislation inspired activists and organizations serving the limb loss and limb difference community to take this policy nationwide. Organizations including the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics, the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists and the Amputee Coalition came together to kick-start the So Kids Can Move Campaign.
So Kids Can Move has been very successful. Since 2021, four more states–New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas and Illinois–have passed legislation guaranteeing various levels of coverage for prostheses and orthoses designed for physical activity. This success has been encouraging, and we want to go further. That’s why the coalition involved with the So Kids Can Move Campaign decided to rebrand, moving forward under the banner of So Every BODY Can Move. This new name better describes the state of the movement, with state legislatures becoming more interested in access to movement for all people. The name So Every BODY Can Move also better encapsulates the ambitious vision of the campaign—a nation where all people have access to prostheses and orthoses designed for physical activity. We believe the new name is more consistent with our larger conception of what a more just world for people living with limb loss and limb difference looks like and emphasizes our belief that the ability to move how you want is as critical for adults as it is for children.
This work is only the beginning. Our goal, as members of the So Every BODY Can Move Campaign, is to pass legislation aligned with the goals of the movement in 28 states by 2028, the year the Olympics and Paralympics will be coming to Los Angeles. The deadline is symbolic, but the potentially life-changing impact of the legislation is very real. If we can achieve the goal of “28 by 28,” we will have secured a massive victory for our community of people living with limb loss and limb difference, along with the disability rights movement generally.
None of the successes that have been achieved so far would have been possible without dedicated community members and advocates, and if we want to achieve our goal of 28 by 28, we need your help! More legislation aligned with the So Every BODY Can Move campaign has already been introduced in Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New Jersey, and we’re supporting even more efforts by advocates working to bring So Every BODY Can Move legislation to the attention of their state legislatures.
At the Amputee Coalition, our vision is a world where our community thrives. This is our DREAM, and through the So Every BODY Can Move campaign, we’re working to make it into a reality. As we move into 2024, and a new legislative cycle begins, I encourage you to remember that, when it comes to advocacy, your voice matters. If you’re interested in becoming involved with the So Every BODY Can Move Campaign, AC Connect, a platform administered by the Amputee Coalition, is an excellent place to organize with other advocates online, but you can also get involved in your local community.
Talk to your friends about the importance of prostheses and orthoses designed for physical activity. Contact your state representatives and let them know you want them to champion legislation that would bring the So Every BODY Can Move Campaign to your state. The So Every Body Can Move Campaign is taking concrete steps toward a better world for people living with limb loss and limb difference. Your voice and advocacy are invaluable in this fight, and I hope you’ll join us.