I have fought an uphill battle with kidney disease for almost half my life. At 24, I started receiving dialysis treatment and three years later received a kidney transplant that kept me off dialysis for about five years. But unfortunately, I needed potent anti-rejection drugs that ultimately gave me cancer and weakened my immune system. Thankfully, I recovered from cancer but ended up back on dialysis, which I still receive.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that my treatments haven’t always been tailored to what I need, putting a lot of burden on me to research what I need and take a more proactive role in advocating for the treatments and medicine dosages that I know are right for me. But, there is another problem that I have faced as a dialysis patient: the sheer cost of all my health care expenses.

On top of the health struggles that dialysis patients face, there are financial ones. Medicare covers 80% of dialysis costs, leaving patients responsible for the rest. I’m not old enough to qualify for other government-sponsored assistance and have to pay the remaining costs on a fixed income.

This cost is a significant financial burden on myself and others, but Congress can help. There is a bill called the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act which expands access to Medigap plans to those under the age of 65. I highly encourage members of Congress to support this bill and help kidney disease patients across Texas and the nation.

Dale Davis, Houston, Texas

This article was originally published in the Beaumont Enterprise