There is no science to support “chronic Lyme disease”, so advocates have lobbied politicians in organized efforts to legitimize destructive practices. This page includes resources to learn more, plus a listing of pending legislation.

Lawmakers may have good intentions, but they don’t possess the expertise to decide whether it’s beneficial, cost-efficient, or safe, to keep using strong medicines to treat a condition the medical establishment doubts is real. […] Patients whose lives have been upended by Lyme disease need more answers, but they should come out of a medical lab, not a legislature.

— Boston Globe Editorial Board (Lyme bill a prescription for trouble)

We sympathize with patients who suffer from the wide array of symptoms that have been attributed by some to be due to so-called “chronic” Lyme disease, but we are concerned that most of these patients have been improperly diagnosed and may be receiving a treatment, i.e., long-term antibiotic therapy, that will do them more harm than good.

— Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA Letter to Congress, 2009)

Exempting dangerous therapy from regulatory oversight, as LLMD-protection laws do, is a blunt, inflexible, and alarmingly irresponsible response to the demands of a fringe group of physicians and their patients. […] Enactment of LLMD-protection statutes by several states endangers the very patients those states aim to serve.

— Joseph B. Franklin, PhD, JD (Antibiotic Maximalism: Legislative Assaults on the Evidence-Based Treatment of Lyme Disease)

Resources

 

2018 Legislative Sessions- In plain English

All bills of importance to this page and still pending should be listed here.  Please contact us if you have anything to add.

(work in progress- updated 2018-04-13)

Illinois

HB4515– Immunizes doctors who prescribe quackery for purported Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Adds a “Lyme Disease Prevention, Detection, and Outreach Program” and yet another “Lyme Disease Task Force.”

Our recommendation: Vote No. This bill will hinder the ability of the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board to protect the public.  Real Lyme disease is not a common problem in Illinois and is fully treatable with science-based treatment. .

Status: Check at Legiscan: HB4515

Please see LymeScience’s list of “rogues” associated with Illinois


Indiana

SB0284– Requires insurance companies, including Medicaid and state employee health plans, to pay for unlimited chronic Lyme quackery, including quack tests and dangerous antibiotic treatments. Legitimizes Bartonella as a tick-borne infection even though there is no compelling evidence to support this. Requires a healthcare provider who orders a Lyme test to provide written information to a patient, which will be burdensome for the provider and confusing for the patient. Immunizes quacks who prescribe chronic Lyme quackery.

Our recommendation: Vote No. This bill will only endanger patients while enriching quacks and pharmaceutical companies. It will not help actual Lyme and other tick-borne disease patients who are already covered with science-based treatment.

Status: Failed


Iowa

HF577– physician protection- signed by Governor 2017-03-23

SF115– physician protection- looks to be mooted by HF577

SF222 and HF112–  looks to be mooted by HF577

Our view: This bill endangers the public by protecting incompetent doctors.


Kentucky

SB170– Requires health care providers to provide anyone tested for Lyme disease with the detailed results of the test. Requires health care providers to provide a confusing statement about the Lyme test.

Our recommendation: Vote No.  This regulation will be burdensome for the provider and confusing for the patient, but not improve patient care.


Maine

LD1417 – Requires insurance companies to “provide coverage for the diagnosis and short-term and long-term treatment of Lyme disease. An increase in enrollee cost sharing to achieve compliance with this section may not be implemented.”

Our recommendation: Vote No. 

Status: Failed


Maryland

SB793 and HB880– Requires insurance companies to pay for unlimited dangerous chronic Lyme quackery, specifically intravenous, oral, and intramuscular antibiotic drugs. Legitimizes Bartonella as a tick-borne infection even though there is no compelling evidence to support this. Legitimizes chronic Lyme disease even though there is no compelling evidence it exists. Legitimizes diagnoses based on pseudoscience.

Our recommendation: Vote No. These bills will only endanger patients while enriching quacks and pharmaceutical companies. It will not help actual Lyme patients who are already covered with science-based treatment.

Status: Failed

 

SB871– Protects doctors who recommend “alternative treatments”

Our recommendation: Vote No. These bill will hinder the Maryland Medical Board from protecting the public.

Status: This bill has been pulled.

 

SB950 and HB1266– Immunizes quacks and frauds from prosecution if they say they’re treating Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, with few exceptions. Applies to any healthcare practitioner, including naturopaths and chiropractors. Will leave the elderly and children especially vulnerable.

Our recommendation: Vote No.

Status: Failed


Massachusetts

S1255– Creates a special commission to study the feasibility and best practices for a statewide education and awareness program to prevent the contraction of Lyme disease and tick borne illnesses.

Status: Check at Legiscan: S1255


New Hampshire

SB475 and HB1388– Requires health care providers who order a Lyme disease test to provide to patients a misleading and unnecessary notice. Also requires the health care provider to “provide the detailed test results to the patient”, which is not always necessary. The bill also incorrectly states “Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and treat.”

Our recommendation: Vote No.

Status: Check at Legiscan: SB475 and HB1388


New Jersey

S326 and A678– Mandates insurance companies to pay for chronic Lyme quackery.

S1747– Fines health care professionals $10-100 if they do not report a case of Lyme disease within 24 hours of confirmed diagnosis.


New York

S04713 and A00114, S00670 – insurance coverage for chronic Lyme quackery

 

S06926– Directs the commissioner of health to establish a standard protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick borne diseases ; such protocol shall require the provision of written notification to each patient being treated for Lyme disease or other tick borne diseases relating to symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis and other information relating to such diseases.

 

A06927– Relates to directing the New York state health care quality and cost containment commission to study and report upon the impact of requiring that certain health insurance plans provide coverage for treatment of Lyme disease.

 

S07208 and A09830 Establishes that the council on human blood and transfusion services shall review all current medical research and guidance regarding the donation of blood by patients with a history of Lyme or tick-borne illnesses.

 

S07753– Requires that whenever laboratory tests shall be required to be covered, such tests shall include testing for Lyme disease including at a minimum both the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot tests.

Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill is contrary to science-based guidelines and will lead to unnecessary testing and unnecessary spending. According to the CDC, a positive or indeterminate ELISA must be obtained before using the Western blot:

The two steps of Lyme disease testing are designed to be done together. CDC does not recommend skipping the first test and just doing the Western blot. Doing so will increase the frequency of false positive results and may lead to misdiagnosis and improper treatment.

Status: Check at Legiscan: S07753

 

S06084– Expands the definition of invasive species to include a species “present in numbers that such species or pest organisms are considered an infestation and large enough to be harmful, threatening, or obnoxious to native plants, animals, or human health. These should include, but not be limited to, infestations related to the proliferation of vector-borne diseases such as Lyme and tick-borne diseases and the West Nile virus.”

 

A09612

 

S02168 and A04863– Directs the department of financial services, in consultation with the commissioner of health, to study and report upon insurance coverage for the treatment of Lyme disease

Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill is unnecessary. Insurance already covers Lyme disease treatments, based on decades of scientific evidence. There is no reason for the department of financial services to study this issue.

Status: Check at Legiscan: S02168 and A04863

 

S07168 and A09535

 

A02057

 

S07171 and A09019 – Requires the commissioner to issue a report examining the health impacts of infectious diseases and blood-borne pathogens on mental illness rates in endemic areas of the state. The report will include considerations of how Lyme, tick-borne illnesses, and other blood-borne pathogens or vector-borne diseases may have correlations with mental illness in infected individuals.

 

S07170 and A08900– Establishes a Lyme and tick-borne disease working group to review current best practices for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Lyme and tick-borne diseases.
Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill is unnecessary. There are already established guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. These bills will likely facilitiate the promotion of false and misleading information about tick-borne diseases.
Status: Check at Legiscan: S07170 and A08900

 

 

S02621 and A05501– Authorizes the commissioner of health to award grants for graduate medical education in Lyme and tick-borne disease and to designate organizations as centers for Lyme and tick-borne disease excellence.

Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill is unnecessary. There are already well-established scientific organizations in Lyme and tick-borne disease. These bills seem designed to legitimize anti-science Lyme organizations and potentially funnel money to them.

Status: Check at Legiscan: S02621 and A05501

 

 

S07242 and A08829 – Installs Lyme and tick-borne disease warning signs at all state-managed parks.

 

S07169 – Establishes a pilot program for Lyme and tick-borne disease testing in children. Also provides for creation of a continuing graduate medical education curriculum.

Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill facilitates unnecessary testing. The American College of Rheumatology recommendsDon’t test for Lyme disease as a cause of musculoskeletal symptoms without an exposure history and appropriate exam findings.

Status: Check at Legiscan: S07169


Pennsylvania

SB100 and HB174

Our recommendation: Vote no.

Status: Check at Legiscan: SB100 and HB174, HB174 was passed by the House on May 23, 2017.

Resources:

Late You Come: Legislation on Lyme Treatment in an Era of Conflicting Guidelines”- A Pennsylvania infectious disease specialist on Lyme legislation and advocacy for Lyme pseudoscience.

 

SB1016– Requires a school employee to provide a specific written notification to parents if a tick is removed from a student.

Our recommendation: TBD

Status: Check at Legiscan: SB1016

 

HR471– Urging the United States Food and Drug Administration to promptly consider candidates for Lyme disease vaccinations currently seeking approval under the drug approval process.

Our recommendation: We are positive towards this resolution but do not think it is the FDA that is stopping a Lyme disease vaccine from coming to market. Anti-vaccine sentiment is endemic to chronic Lyme groups, which dominate conversations about tick-borne diseases.

Status: Check at Legiscan: HR471


Virginia

HB 169– Would have extended to July 1, 2023 a requirement requiring disclosure of certain information to a patient when a Lyme disease test is ordered.

Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill is unnecessary. The bill would confuse patients and add a needless burden on doctors.

Status: We’re happy to see it was killed by a committee vote of 21-0 on January 18, 2018. Under current law, the disclosure requirement will expire on July 1, 2018.


West Virginia

SB242 and HB4328– Requires that insurance companies pay for chronic Lyme quackery.
Our recommendation: Vote No.
Status: Check at Legiscan: SB242 and HB4328, SB242 was approved by the governor and will take effect June 6, 2018.


Wisconsin

AB316– Mandates that health care providers ordering Lyme disease tests furnish a statement to the patient misleadingly asserting, among other things, that “testing for Lyme disease can be problematic”.
Our recommendation: Vote No, because the bill is unnecessary. The bill would confuse patients and add a needless burden on doctors.
Status: Failed on March 28, 2018