Hero of March 2nd Indiana tornado pushing bill to help Kentucky - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hero of March 2nd Indiana tornado pushing bill to help Kentucky amputees

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A hero of the March 2nd tornadoes that ripped through Southern Indiana may help change the law in Kentucky. The Kentucky legislature is considering a law designed to help people like Stephanie Decker, who lost both her legs in the storm.

On Monday, a House committee will vote on a bill that requires insurance companies to pay for the most advanced artificial limbs.

Stephanie Decker made a personal appeal in Frankfort for the bill's passage.

There was a standing ovation on the floor of the Kentucky House, for someone who became a hero in her Indiana home.

Stephanie Decker lost both legs while shielding her children from falling debris, during the March 2 tornado.

Decker , who is a Kentucky native, told lawmakers on Feb. 5, that she was fortunate that the accident happened across the river. Indiana has a law requiring insurance companies to pay for the best available artificial limbs. Not so in Kentucky.

"So, I could have very easily been given a bare minimum prosthetic leg, and you would not see me walking up these stairs today. I think it's imperative. It's an absolute injustice, for everyone not to be able to have this type of technology. And we need to change that here in Kentucky," she said.

House Bill 376, the prosthetic parity bill, does just that. On Monday, the House Insurance and Banking Committee decides whether to recommend the bill to the full House.

Amputee Joe Riffe is hoping for the best. His insurance company did pay for his hi-tech prosthetic leg, allowing him to return to work as a paramedic; but only after Riffe waged a fight through social media.

"I had people from all over the world calling the insurance company, telling them that, 'He needs this leg to return to work and you need to cover it.' Through a lot of social pressure, they finally covered my leg. The problem is most amputees don't have this ability," said Riffe.

One stumbling block could be the that the law may cause insurance rates to increase slightly. But Riffe says the payoff will be worth it.

"This gets people back to work, back to their jobs and back to being a productive member of society," he said.

Riffe believes stories such as his and Stephanie Decker's will convince lawmakers to pass the bill.

"There's many out there that don't have a voice. So,let's give them that opportunity, too," said Decker.

Riffe says 20 other states currently have prosthetic parity laws. Supporters are also pushing for a national law.

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