Kinzinger bill would expand Medicare coverage of people with Huntington’s disease

Tens of thousands of Americans disabled by Huntington’s disease would be ensured access to Medicare coverage under legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Monday.

Kinzinger introduced the Huntington’s Disease Parity Act with bipartisan support from dozens of original cosponsors. Medicare’s two-year waiting period for individuals disabled by the degenerative, hereditary brain disorder would be waived under the bill.

“The Huntington’s Disease Parity Act is instrumental in providing necessary medical access to those impacted by Huntington’s Disease,” Kinzinger said. “This bipartisan legislation is a targeted solution that will fix an outdated system for a very vulnerable group of people.”

Huntington’s disease impacts about 30,000 Americans, usually affecting a person’s movement and cognitive functions. As many as 250,000 children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene from a parent who has the disease.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), who introduced the bill with Kinzinger, said people with Huntington’s disease, also known as HD, face emotional and financial obstacles in addition to health challenges.

“This important legislation would ensure better access to health care by eliminating the current two-year waiting period for Medicare coverage for individuals disabled by their HD,” Pascrell said. “These individuals and their families deserve any relief we can provide as they deal with this devastating disease.”