I’ve been on dialysis for more than 20 years, and I, like many other patients, struggle to afford the treatments that keep me alive. America’s health insurance system is supposed to give all patients equal support, but for dialysis patients, it doesn’t feel that way.

The Supreme Court ruled that private insurers could automatically transition dialysis patients to Medicare instead of allowing them to stay on their private insurance for 30 months. When you first start dialysis, you’re quite sick and the experience can be traumatic, so it’s a terrible time to not only switch health plans but to then have a gap in your coverage.

Medicare only covers 80% of treatment and many patients utilize supplemental plans to cover the other 20%. Unfortunately, Alabama doesn’t provide any patient protections to ensure I or other dialysis patients under the age of 65 have access to affordable Medigap coverage.

The Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act will ensure that dialysis patients can maintain full access to their private coverage for the full 30-month period, and I implore my elected officials – Senators Tommy Tuberville and Katie Britt, and Congressman Robert Aderholt – to vote for this bill.

Andrew Conkling, Arab, Alabama