It’s been a busy start in 2022 for DPC’s state advocacy efforts. While many states are holding shorter legislative sessions due to the upcoming primary elections, bills impacting dialysis patients are being introduced and moving quickly through the legislative process.
Legislation to expanded Medigap access has already been introduced in Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Improving access to Medicare supplementary (Medigap) plans is a top policy priority for DPC, and we are pleased that multiple states are considering how they can help, particularly in states that have limited or no access to Medigap for the under age 65 ESRD population.
Both the Nebraska and Rhode Island legislatures held Committee hearings on Medigap expansion bills in mid-February, and there is a Committee hearing scheduled in Kentucky in later this week. In Nebraska, there was broad support at the hearing from numerous patient advocacy organizations, healthcare professionals and patients to require greater access to affordable Medigap coverage for Medicare-eligible disability and ESRD patients under age 65. In Rhode Island, a similar bill is supported by numerous legislators, the State Insurance Commissioner, and the Governor’s Commission on Disability, among others.
In addition to Medigap legislation, several states have introduced bills to enhance living donor protections and financial incentives, such as tax credits or reimbursement costs, that will help increase the number of kidneys available for transplant. Bills are moving quickly in Georgia, and Virginia, while other bills are also being considered by state legislators in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina and West Virginia.
How can you help? We are always looking for DPC Patient Ambassadors to share their stories by writing letters to legislators, testifying at committee hearings, and participating in Action Alerts that are emailed to our members. DPC members in Virginia recently received an email Action Alert to contact their Virginia state legislators asking them to support two living donor bills (SB 271 and HB 421) and help increase kidney transplants for Virginia dialysis patients. A big shout out to DPC Patient Ambassadors James “Hap” O. Strunk (Kentucky), Tangela Robinson (Georgia), Jim Myers (Indiana), Angela Gaskell (North Carolina), Gwendolyn Snell (Ohio), Theodore Chaplin (Rhode Island) and DPC Board Members Maria Robinson (Maryland) and Vanessa Evans (Massachusetts) for sharing their stories in letters of support for legislation that will help improve the lives of dialysis patients.
Building strong relationships with policy makers through the legislative process is how DPC is able to achieve success for its members. To learn more about how you can help DPCs state advocacy program, visit DPC’s website to find out your state’s Medigap status and to Get Involved with DPC.