A new bill introduced by state Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton, would provide parents of young children with cardiopulmonary problems the opportunity to protect their children from potentially fatal complications by requiring insurance coverage for crucial health monitors.
The measure has passed the House and is now before the Senate.
“It is important that we are doing anything and everything we can to protect the lives of our children, especially those that suffer from health complications at a very young age,” said Bristow. “This legislation was brought to me by a constituent whose granddaughter suffered from an apnea medical emergency that caused her to stop breathing. She later passed away at a very young age from a similar medical emergency, and a cardiopulmonary monitor could have alerted her family to this episode. There is no reason that insurance companies should ever deny a critical piece of equipment or tool that could help save a child’s life, and this legislation would ensure that the cost of a critical monitor would not be a factor in making the decision for that necessary tool.”
Marlie’s Law would require insurance companies to provide the necessary coverage on cardiopulmonary monitors for a person 18 years old or younger who have had a cardiopulmonary event and remains at a higher risk for another.
The legislation was brought to Bristow by Mary Cope, a Wood River resident. Her granddaughter, Marlie, who was only a couple months old, had a prior episode of apnea in 2016 where she stopped breathing. After suffering from the episode that resulted in her being revived by a first responder, she was taken to the hospital. The family requested a monitor, but were told that the cost was too high. Shortly after, Marlie had another apnea episode where she stopped breathing. Her mother was unable to find her in time and she could not be revived. The legislation is named Marlie’s Law in her memory.
“It has been coming up on three years now since her death and we still live with the ‘what-if’s,’” said Marlie’s grandmother, Mary Cope. “Would Marlie still be with us today if they only had given her a simple cardiopulmonary monitor? We will never know because we were never given the chance to monitor her breathing, heart rate and most importantly oxygen levels for changes.”
“A family should not have to base a decision that could affect the life of their child on whether they can afford the treatment,” said Bristow. “Marlie’s Law is about making sure that insurance companies never deny a family or patient something that could save a child’s life, or something as simple as a monitor to ensure their child is safe, especially one with a pre-existing condition that is potentially life-threatening. As a mother and grandmother, I cannot even begin to imagine the pain this family went through, and I want to make sure that no family ever has to go through a similar situation ever again.”
Marlie’s Law is filed as House Bill 3471. For more information,Bristow’s office at (618) 465-5900 or RepMBristow@gmail.com.