I was not aware of this story as it was developing, but have been amazed at what one person, supported by those around them, can do to impact the world we live win in a VERY positive way. Frequently, the basis of my rants and raves these days is regarding the absurdity of the things going on within the world of politics or business, but the more important message is that all of these issues effect real people, in very dramatic ways. I am assuming like me, most of you can easily lose site of that as you form your opinions about this or that issue, but this is a story you should all hear about because it is truly a sign of everything that is good.
To give a little background as I understand it, in the Chicago area, there was a child that was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease known as PANDAS. In this case, it was a 12 year old boy, and the disease leads to severe inflammation of the brain. Aside from the fact that it is pretty rare and often misdiagnosed, the real issue lies with the fact that it is treatable, treatments are expensive, and insurance companies across the board refused to cover any of it. I’ll skip the rant I would normally have where I talk about how for-profit insurance companies are the biggest problem in our healthcare system, because their actual nature, purpose and fiduciary responsibility is to avoid paying as many claims as legally possible, but in this case, for this disease, it may no longer legally possible soon.
With the assistance of her local state representative, Deb Conroy (D), 46th District, legislation was drafted to force insurance companies to cover this, and it passed the Illinois House last week unanimously, 105-0. Currently, the bill has now moved to the Illinois Senate for review and hopefully approval. Based on his track record, I will be very interested to see if the Governor is willing to sign it, but hopefully he will break from his pattern and do the right thing.
Here is one news story that aired on local TV news channel WLS-7, if you are interested in finding out more.
The legislation is Illinois House Bill 2721 if you want to follow up on it yourself, and if you can, reach out to your Illinois State Senator and encourage them to support this legislation.
The larger point here is that this is one issue that effects a small number of people in our society, but that does not make it trivial or unimportant. What that really means is that situations come up every day where if “the system” is left to its own devices, people will be forgotten. I know opinions vary dramatically on what role the government has in all this, ranging from none at all to it needs to take care of everyone, but the fact of the matter is that there are situations that come up all the time, that were not outlined in the Constitution as the role of Government, but nonetheless, there is no alternative. I am certain this one mother did not expect to have to literally pass legislation to get medical treatment for her son, but the government was her last resort, and so far, they are coming through.
The second point I need to make is that I hope more people will continue to learn from this, and especially learn the power we all have as voters and citizens in this country. Get active, talk to your representatives, and work with the good ones like Deb Conroy. If they choose to ignore you, then they need to be ignored when it comes time for re-election. These days, simply watching a little news on TV and showing up to vote every couple of years simply isn’t enough. Be active, pay attention, and make the government work for you and people like you. If you simply trust businesses and elected officials to do the right thing, and don’t get involved, you will find more often than not, you will be very disappointed in the results.