Reichert introduces critical legislation to improve health care for lymphedema patients

Dave Reichert - Reporter file photo
Dave Reichert
— image credit: Reporter file photo

For the Reporter

U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and cosponsors Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) introduced the Lymphedema Treatment Act, HR 3877, to ensure Medicare coverage for the millions of Americans who suffer from this condition.

"Seniors who suffer from lymphedema should not be punished for taking the necessary steps to treat their condition," Reichert said. "By rectifying Medicare's failure to cover compression garments we give seniors their best chance and real hope to fight back against this chronic disease. I am pleased to be joined by my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in this fight against lymphedema."

Lymphedema is a chronic condition resulting from damaged or inadequate lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels that afflicts millions of Americans. It is a disease that one can be born with but it is most often caused by cancer treatments that damage the body's lymph system or immune functions.

Due to the painful swelling that results from lymphedema, compression therapy is an essential component of treatment but compression supplies are not covered by Medicare despite being an ongoing necessity. HR 3877 closes this coverage gap by requiring Medicare to cover lymphedema compression items.

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