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New Illinois Law Requires Health Insurance Companies To Cover PANDAS

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state is the first in the nation to require insurance companies to cover a deadly childhood brain disease. 

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal virus, or PANDAS, occurs when streptococcal infections (such as strep throat) trigger a misdirected immune response that inflames part of the brain. The condition affects 1 in 200 children, and can be treated and cured with a series of intravenous antibiotics. However, insurance didn’t cover the $12,000 cost until this week.

State Rep. Deb Conroy authored legislation to require coverage and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed it in Lombard. Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, said it was a hard fight. 

"The insurance companies were not in support of this," she said. "We fought them tooth and nail all the way through, and it was because of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and these families, that we educated everybody about what this actually meant to families, and that is why we passed this."

Gov. Rauner praised the bipartisan effort and signed the bill Tuesday.