04122019CM0717SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed a measure cosponsored by State Sen. Andy Manar this week that would make it easier for individuals with tick borne illnesses to seek treatment.

House Bill 889 would require insurers to cover long-term antibiotic therapy for people with tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure that people have access to the potentially life-saving treatments they need,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “It’s appalling how difficult it can be to receive treatment for Lyme disease in our state. This measure is going to be a huge help to thousands of people throughout Illinois.”

Under current law there is no requirement that long-term antibiotic therapy be covered for these patients. As a result, doctors have a difficult time prescribing long-term antibiotic treatments that last more than 28 days.

Long-term antibiotic therapy is currently the only treatment known to effectively cure Lyme disease.

Manar was first made aware of the issue after being approached by Linda Keyhart, a resident of his district whose daughter contracted Lyme disease and faced barriers to receiving needed treatment.

After learning about the issue, Manar held a hearing to learn about problems related to the treatment of Lyme disease and cosponsored House Bill 4515 in 2017, which allowed doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments needed to treat Lyme disease without facing disciplinary action.

“A lot of people in my district suffer from Lyme disease and the proposals we’ve moved through the Senate are major steps toward more effectively treating this life-altering illness,” Manar said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue studying this issue and finding ways to help medical professionals treat Lyme disease.”

House Bill 889 passed the Senate unanimously. It now awaits the governor’s signature.

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