At 22, while serving in the Army National Guard, I discovered I had a hereditary immune disease called IgA nephropathy affecting my kidneys. When I turned 50, my kidneys finally began to fail. I then entered end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and began dialysis, which removes waste from the blood when the kidneys can’t. Dialysis has been a part of my life ever since.

My father and grandfather both suffered from ESRD. Losing my father to the disease last November was tragic, especially as I battled the disease myself, but it inspired me to become an advocate for policies protecting kidney patients.

That is why I’m urging Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Benton, to support the Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act. This legislation helps the many new dialysis patients who are losing adequate insurance coverage due to a recent Supreme Court decision. Previously, new patients could keep their insurance for the first 30 months of care. Now, insurance companies can effectively push dialysis patients off of their plans and onto Medicare prematurely, and some don’t have a way to cover the remaining 20% of costs.

Johnson should support legislation ensuring every new dialysis patient can keep quality coverage.

Kenneth Stephens, Shreveport, Louisiana