WAIT! Don’t stop reading if you live in Pennsylvania. I know, this post is about political activism, and who has time for that? I certainly don’t. Unfortunately, we don’t get a choice. The only way thing will change for people with Lyme disease is if we all pitch in and help create that change. So it’s political activism time once again. And if you live in Indiania, Butler, Westmoreland, Armstrong, or Clearfield counties, your state senator is the HEAD of the committee considering a bill that could make a big difference. If you live elsewhere, but still in PA, you can also help. You don’t need to have Lyme disease to help with this, anyone can express their support for change on this topic. So please read on!
Bill 1199 is currently being considered in the Pennsylvania senate subcommittee on on Banking and Insurance. It is “An Act establishing a task force on Lyme disease and related maladies; and providing for powers and duties of the task force, the Department of Health, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission to execute prevention and education strategies and ensure patient access to appropriate care and treatment.”
Needless to say, it would be of major help to folks with Lyme for PA for this bill to pass. Not only that, it would help to add to the momentum of other similar bills that have passed in states like Connecticut, hopefully leading (eventually) to better standards for lyme education and treatment nationally.
It turns out that the chair of the committee considering the bill is Senator Don White, from district 41. Anyone can help by letting him know we care about this bill, but it is especially crucial to find constituents in his district who are willing to contact him and express their support for the bill. You or they can do a couple of different things that would be helpful.
- Contact the senator and ask him to support Bill 1199. Tell him why it’s personally important to you. Even 5 or 10 phone calls like this could swing things.
- Ask others in his district who care about Lyme disease to do the same.
- If you want to get more involved, contact me. A colleague is organizing a couple of PA-wide phone-in meetings where you can find out more about how to help.
In the words of my colleague: “Timing is crucial — we have a window of time from now until early May when we have the opportunity to get this bill on the table with the Senate through a public hearing, and action after that — but this will only happen if the Committee is so moved, by hearing from the public, to do so. That’s where we come in. Time to roll!!”