When you start dialysis, which I was on for three years, there is a lot of uncertainty and fear. However, worrying about immediately changing health insurance plans after diagnosis hasn’t typically been a problem for most patients, because private insurance companies had to cover treatments for 30 months before the patient automatically joins Medicare.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling last year that could potentially weaken long-standing protections that are essential for dialysis patients. This is highly concerning, because the last thing that new dialysis patients need is their coverage slipping away while beginning to live with dialysis.

Our government should focus on creating pathways of hope for dialysis patients by lessening the burdens of care, yet it seems like the government is putting up stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones.

Right now, there is a bipartisan bill in Congress called the Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act, which would clarify that patients with private insurance can maintain full coverage for the traditional 30-month period. This is an important fix that will restore consistency for new dialysis patients.

I hope the Oklahoma congressional delegation will demonstrate a commitment toward advocating for the rights and well-being of dialysis patients by diligently working toward the successful passage of this bill.

Gene Blankenship, Gore, Oklahoma