Kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), affects Americans of all ages. I was 14 years old when I received my diagnosis.

I’ve been on dialysis for many years and have received two transplants in the process, but perhaps more stressful than dialysis has been paying for all my healthcare expenses. I’ve relied on private insurance for much of my ESRD journey. After my second transplant, I had private insurance that proved essential once my transplant failed and I needed to stay in the hospital.

I eventually transitioned to Medicare, but did not qualify for Medicaid, and Medicare only pays 80% of the costs. If a charity organization did not help me cover the 20% that Medicare doesn’t, I do not know if I’d be alive today. That’s why I was troubled that a recent Supreme Court decision may allow for private insurers to push dialysis patients on to Medicare before they’re ready. That leaves patients with fewer options and astronomical bills.

Congressman Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, must support the Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act, which would give patients the option to keep their private insurance in those first months of care.

Alethea Walls, Detroit, Michigan