The end of life. A time where you make final arrangements and prepare yourself and your family. Tragically, this time can come about from an illness or disease, sometimes a preventable one. Preventable deaths — some coming about from a patient’s inability to pay. Charities — organizations whose sole purpose is to help others — donate to people and patients in need, or, at least, they try to. They try until patients’ own insurance companies say they can’t. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gave hope to patients with pre-existing conditions — yet insurance companies continue to find and press for loopholes which harm policyholders.

ESRD, or end-stage renal disease is condition affecting 200,000 patients in the U.S. A diagnosis of ESRD is given when a patient has lost more than 85 percent of their kidney function. The kidneys’ crucial function of filtering toxins from the blood diminishes, which may result in death.

In some instances, insurance companies in various states reject payments from their policyholders. Policies are then canceled for nonpayment, and ESRD patients are left unable to pay bills for policies that no longer help them. Charitable assistance is their only hope, and state and federal lawmakers across the country are drafting legislation blocking this assistance.

Utah lawmakers can prevent insurers from hurting patients and continue to provide access to quality insurance policies. I urge legislators to enact policies preventing hawkish practices preventing families from accessing healthcare and charity as they see fit for their needs.

Ezekiel Lee


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