The Ripon Advance: Kinzinger, Cassidy introduce bipartisan, bicameral bill to help fight Huntington’s Disease
Medicare coverage and Social Security Disability Insurance would be available to people suffering from Huntington’s Disease immediately after they qualify for federal disability under a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced on March 18 by U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
The hereditary nervous system disorder is a degenerative disease that affects tens of thousands of people across the United States, with more than 200,000 Americans currently at risk of contracting the disease, according to information provided by the lawmakers’ office, which noted that some 41,000 Americans are now known to have the disease.
Rep. Kinzinger is an original cosponsor of the Huntington’s Disease Parity Act, H.R. 2050, which he unveiled with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) to amend the Social Security Act to eliminate the five-month waiting period for disability insurance benefits and to waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility for individuals with Huntington’s disease, according to the bill summary.
“The Huntington’s Disease Parity Act is critical to providing the necessary medical access to those affected by this devastating disease,” Rep. Kinzinger said. “Our legislation will provide a targeted solution to fix an outdated system and help the tens of thousands of people across the United States battling this rare and fatal disease.”
Sen. Cassidy is an original cosponsor of his chamber’s version, S. 868, which he introduced with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
“As a doctor, I’ve seen how Huntington’s Disease can affect a person and their family,” said Sen. Cassidy. “An over 30-year-old law is delaying many with this disease from receiving Medicare or disability benefits. This can impede their ability to receive care. By fixing an outdated law, we can bring hope to those living with Huntington’s Disease.”
Louise Vetter, president and chief executive officer of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, voiced support for the bill, which has been referred to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for consideration. “The HD Parity Act is a crucial bill that must be passed for Huntington’s disease families,” Vetter said.