Florida Lawmakers Called on to Help Those With Rare Disease

A bill winding its way through the Florida Capitol would force group insurance plans and HMOs to cover any CF treatments deemed necessary by a doctor.

Little Abby Reams of Greenville suffers from cystic fibrosis. Her family is one of many in Florida haggling with its insurance company, trying to convince it to pay for the breathing treatments Abby needs.

Linda Bowman has far exceeded the 30-year life expectancy of a typical CF patient. She joined lawmakers at the Capitol to push for improved coverage.

Linda says, "150 dollars a day just for respiratory treatment, that doesn't include the drugs I've been denied, other medically necessary treatments I've been denied, so it's a huge burden."

Brian Levy of the Reach for the Stars Foundation says, "I know that when my daughter comes out of the hospital, whether it be next week, early next week or the week after, I know since I've pretty much used up all of my benefits for the year, that I'm out of pocket."

Sen. Gwen Margolis and Rep. Ronald Reagan are sponsoring legislation that would require insurance plans and HMOs to cover CF treatments deemed necessary by a doctor.

As for the Reams, they say passage of this bill would be a big financial relief. If not, they say they may take out a $16,000 loan to get Abby the treatment she needs.

With just two weeks left in the session, Senate Bill 318 and House Bill 597 are both still stuck in committee. The Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk is coming up later this month on the 30th.