Lyme groups will rally in Harrisburg to support legislation extending insurance coverage
Advocates for those affected by Lyme disease are headed to Harrisburg to support legislation that would provide for long-term treatment.
The PA Lyme Resource Network and Dare 2B Tick Aware will host a rally at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in support of House Bill 629, which ensures that patients have access to treatment options through insurance coverage when short-term treatment for Lyme or other tick-borne infections fails.
“Currently, many insurance companies will only cover short-term treatment,” said Bill Moore, vice president for the PA Lyme Resource Network and a Lyme patient. “When caught and treated early, 10% to 20% of patients do not recover with short-term treatment. When caught and treated later, 30% to 50% of patients do not recover with short-term treatment. Patients that have to treat long-term are often forced to pay out-of-pocket.”
For the seventh year in a row, Pennsylvania was ranked first in the nation in the number of diagnosed cases of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. The state represents almost a third of all cases in the U.S.
Speakers at the rally will include PA Lyme Resource Network President Julia Wagner, Johns Hopkins University molecular biology professor Ying Zang, Rutgers Medical School associate professor Robert Bransfield and others.
The Tribune-Review has spoken with several local residents in the past year about the serious effects of chronic Lyme disease, the difficulty of obtaining a diagnosis and both the physical and financial toll it can take.
Amy Wiester of Bell Township was bitten three separate times by Lyme-carrying ticks.
House Bill 629 is currently in the Senate’s Banking and Insurance Committee.
The rally will be in the Capitol’s main rotunda, 501 North Third Street in Harrisburg.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .