By Zoë Christopher, Program Officer and Operations Manager
It took twelve years but you helped make it happen!
The Lymphedema Treatment Act was first introduced into Congress in 2010 and on the 23rd of December 2022, it finally passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2023. During the previous three Congresses, and with some help from activists like you, the bill gained bipartisan support with more than 400 House and Senate co-sponsors, and we now have a new Medicare Part B benefit category for doctor-prescribed compression supplies to treat lymphedema.
Because most insurance companies follow Medicare mandates, the 3-5 million Americans who need access to these supplies should finally see the costs covered by their carriers.
This win was a grassroots effort, led by the all-volunteer Lymphedema Advocacy Group, that brought on allies, patients, and activists like Breast Cancer Action members.
We are grateful you responded to our calls to action, whether it was pressuring legislators, making phone calls, or signing and sending letters to your representatives.
The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2024. It will provide coverage for thousands of patients diagnosed with lymphedema who have suffered physically, with this often debilitating and painful condition, and financially, as the cost of compression garments can be exorbitant. And it will save Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars a year through avoided hospitalizations. For more information about this bill, check out this FAQ resource that the Lymphedema Advocacy Group put together.
For your perseverance, your commitment to health equity, your compassion for people living with lymphedema, and your efforts to bring health justice to all folx – we thank you!