Mr. Greenberger Returns to Hartford

Last year, I spent a day up at our state capitol, getting a taste of government in action as I testified before a joint House and Senate committee regarding bone marrow donations. The bill was passed with strong bi-partisan support but was part of an omnibus bill and Governor Jodi Rell vetoed the bill. Her explanation did not single out bone marrow testing but the bill did not make it to an override vote and died for the third year in a row.

Undefeated, HR 5009 was submitted with Senator John McKinney and Representative Tom Drew among the sponsors. It was scheduled for a hearing today so I was invited to come back and speak out once more.

HB 5009 includes the obligation for insurance to cover bone marrow testing so more people can join Be the Match Registry. As apart of an omnibus bill, it was lumped in with other worthy causes but we had by far the most proponents, most of whom are repeat testifiers.

First up was a high school teacher whose wife of less than one year was diagnosed with leukemia and required a transplant. A donor was matched and she successfully recovered. The survivor, also a high school teacher, spoke next, followed by a woman who lost her son ten years ago and continues to fight in his memory.

And then there was me. Going fourth, much of what I had to say had been said but some questions were asked and the others didn’t have the information.  I had facts and figures, plucked from online this morning, so was able to point my comments at those issues in addition to telling Robbie’s story. Senator McKinney missed the meeting, which is a shame considering his power in the senate. Tom Drew also spoke for us.

The shame of it is, of the nineteen members of the committee, only ten were present for any portion of the hearing while the reality was between five and six were there at any one time. I’m told that this happens considering the number of committees people sit on and conflicting schedules or other commitments. But still, seeing all those empty seats, all those people our pleas missed…it’s just sad.

Now we have to wait and see if it passes again and then lobby like crazy to get the Governor to sign it at last.

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