Being diagnosed with kidney disease when I was just 16 turned my life on its head overnight. Kidney failure can cause multiple medical complications. Partial loss of my vision and hearing, more than 17 years of dialysis treatments, infections, an enlarged heart, and eventually a kidney transplant have been just part of the journey.

For all of these challenges, though, one hurdle I thankfully didn’t have to face was access to coverage. Since I was so young when I started treatment, my parents’ insurance helped pay for any costs that Medicare didn’t. For other dialysis patients under 65 that I’ve met, things are very different. They need to pay those costs out-of-pocket.

That’s why we need Congress to pass the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act, which would ensure all dialysis patients can get access to coverage for the costs Medicare doesn’t pay for, no matter where they live or how old they are.

Being on dialysis was difficult, but I believe there’s a reason this happened to me. I want to do everything I can to help others and be an advocate, and having lived the experiences that I have, I’m able to better understand what they’re going through and can more effectively speak out on their behalf.

Huge numbers of people in our area are needing to start dialysis, which is why I’m hoping that our member of Congress, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, uses the influence he has to pass this important bill.

Jennifer McClung, Springville, California