Support Building for Axne Kidney Bill Named in Memory of Iowa Medigap Advocate

October 29, 2021
Press Release
A recent report estimated Axne’s bill would cut federal spending by $1.1 billion

Health and patient advocate groups are continuing to throw their support behind Rep. Axne’s bipartisan bill to expand access to Medigap insurance coverage to all patients living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), regardless of age.

In addition, a report released recently by Health Management Associates estimated that Axne’s bill would cut government spending by $1.1 billion over the next 10 years, saving taxpayer dollars while expanding coverage to Americans living with ESRD.

“Tens of thousands of Americans under the age of 65 living with lifelong kidney disease can’t get or can’t afford the medical coverage necessary to help them. This is an issue that Carlisle’s Jack Reynolds brought to me before we lost him last year, an issue that affected him personally,” said Rep. Axne. “I am proud to take up his cause and push for legislation named in his memory – and I believe that with each new supporter for this legislation we get closer to making Jack’s mission a reality.”

Since its reintroduction in March with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act has earned the endorsement of the Iowa Hospital Association, MercyOne, the Alliance for Retired Americans, Gunderson Health System, and the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE).

These supporters join more than two dozen supporting groups, including: Dialysis Patient Citizens, the American Kidney Fund, National Kidney Foundation, Kidney Care Partners, Renal Healthcare Association, MomsRising, PatientsRising, National Association of Social Workers, American Health Quality Association, Iowa Donor Network, Iowa Chapter of Emergency Physicians, Iowa Health Information Network, Iowa Primary Care Association, Polk County Medical Society Board, Iowa Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, EveryStep Iowa, Iowa Medical Society, and the Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists.

The bill currently has more than 25 bipartisan cosponsors in the House.

Background:

The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act is named in memory of John “Jack” Reynolds from Carlisle, who required decades of treatment for kidney failure stemming from an accident he sustained at age 4. Jack’s health condition inspired him to pursue a lifetime of advocacy for expanded coverage for others living with kidney disease.

Jack Reynolds passed away in May 2020 from kidney failure at the age of 64. Before he passed away, Reynolds met with Rep. Axne in Washington to share his story. His continued advocacy until his passing inspired Rep. Axne to name the legislation in honor of his tireless advocacy for kidney disease issues both at the federal and state level.

For Americans living with terminal kidney illness, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), lack of access to Medicare or private insurance that covers dialysis can mean $72,000 in annual out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving treatment that has no alternative.

Supplemental coverage for kidney treatments and medications is available through privately offered Medigap insurance plans, but eligibility for these plans can vary by state depending on the patient’s age.

The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act would allow anyone nationwide with ESRD to purchase Medigap supplemental plans that cover kidney treatments by removing the existing age requirement.

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