Reps. Chris Gibson and Sean Maloney both celebrated this week the House of Representatives’ passage of a medical research bill with bipartisan support, highlighting its inclusion of a proposal they introduced last year that is meant to speed the development of treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
Gibson, a Kinderhook Republican who retires from Congress at the end of this month after six years in office, said in a statement, “Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have met with Lyme sufferers who are coping with a litany of often chronic health problems, gut-wrenching stress, and astronomical medical expenses. Dated treatment guidelines and a lack of coordinated research among federal agencies have hindered the delivery of effective care and given insurers a green light to refuse payments to physicians who treat Lyme.” He thanked patients and advocates for helping him push the legislation, saying “their voices made a difference.”
Maloney, a Cold Spring Democrat who won a third House term last month, said, “My neighbors in the Hudson Valley know how debilitating Lyme disease can be, and I’m proud that by working across the aisle with Congressman Chris Gibson we have passed the most important piece of Lyme disease legislation ever written.”
Their 2015 bill, The Tick-Borne Disease Research Transparency and Accountability Act, was incorporated into a broader medical bill called The 21st Century Cures Act, which the House passed, 392-26, on Wednesday. They Lyme section orders the creation of an interagency working group to coordinate the federal government’s research on tick-borne diseases and gather input from doctors and patients. It also requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to meet with the group and give Congress a report within three years on combating tick-borne diseases.