On May 9, 2017 we attended a rally that was held on the steps of the Pennsylvania state capitol building regarding House Bill 174 and Senate Bill 100. Hosted by PA Lyme Resource Network in conjunction with LymeActPA, the rally featured speeches by congressmen and moving testimonies from Lyme patients about how this disease is personally and financially devastating. We livestreamed the rally with some additional commentary to help share in the day's events.
HB174 and SB100 aim to improve the lives of Lyme disease patients by making Lyme treatment both accessible and affordable. Currently, insurance companies deny long-term treatment to Lyme patients despite continued recommendations of long-term care and mounting evidence that long-term treatment helps patients fully recover. While these bills won't force doctors to treat beyond the current thirty-day standard, it will give them the option--ensuring that no doctor is penalized for their treatment plan and no patient is burdened with burgeoning health costs.
With Lyme disease on the rise, Pennsylvania is currently number one in the nation for Lyme disease cases, with an estimated 120,000 new cases annually. Only half of those patients will recover with a short-term course of antibiotics. Patients are currently paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for medicine, supplements, and doctors visits that are necessary with continued care. It's a burden that no patient should have to bear.
The rally was a moving experience for Lyme patients and caregivers alike. Thank you to PA Lyme Resource Network for putting this together and to the congressmen and patients for sharing their stories. With more awareness and education, we can create real change.