As Lyme disease cases have been on a steady rise in Massachusetts, our state legislature has been working for two years to put together a proposal mandating health insurers cover long-term treatment for patients with chronic Lyme disease. They finally were able to add the proposal to this year’s budget where after months of legislation it landed on the desk of Governor Baker with the rest of the proposed budget and provisions.
Governor Baker Vetoes Lyme Treatment Provision
While the Governor did sign the budget, he slashed some of the spending in the budget and amended the Lyme disease treatment provision. The legislation focused on coverage of antibiotic therapy, extending coverage to 18 months from the current 28-day limit. It also had some verbiage about covering off-label uses of other drugs to treat Chronic Lyme. UPDATE: As of August 2, 2016 the Governor’s veto was overturned by the Massachusetts State Senate.
Governor Baker altered the language in the provision, removing the coverage for off-label drug use and limiting long-term antibiotic coverage to those ordered by specialists such as neurologists, infectious disease specialists or rheumatologists. He also changed the implementation date to January 2017 with an end date of July 2021.
Massachusetts’s State Legislature Considering Over-ride of Lyme Veto
As reported by The Recorder, there is a great deal of support in the legislation to override the veto. They are currently looking at the budget items vetoed by the Governor to decide which ones can be overridden. The complicating factor is a lack of consensus in the medical field on whether the long-term antibiotic use is effective and safe for Chronic Lyme treatment.
We’ll keep you updated on this story, affecting everyone in the State of Massachusetts as it continues to unfold.
Until then, it is best not to have to experience Lyme disease first-hand. To avoid ticks and tick bites that transmit Lyme call Mosquito Squad of Fall River or Mosquito Squad of the South Shore. Our Intensive Tick Treatment uses a combination of tick spray and tick tubes to eliminate over 90% of the ticks on your property. Call now.