Cantwell, Young Introduce Bill to Improve Medicare Coverage for People Living with Lymphedema

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), and 28 colleagues introduced bipartisan legislation to improve Medicare coverage for lymphedema patients. The Lymphedema Treatment Act would increase and improve care for Medicare beneficiaries with lymphedema by requiring Medicare Part B to cover physician-prescribed compression therapy garments, which are essential in the effective treatment of lymphedema.

“We must make sure the millions of Americans living with lymphedema can receive the treatments they need,” Senator Cantwell said. “This bill takes a common sense step forward to improve care for lymphedema patients who use Medicare Part B, while also reducing costly hospitalizations.”

“Treating symptoms of Lymphedema before they become more serious will help prevent costly complications, infections, and disability. With up to three million Medicare beneficiaries currently affected by Lymphedema, our legislation can help improve the lives of the millions of people who are suffering from this condition,” said Senator Young.

The Lymphedema Treatment Act would close an existing coverage gap and improve care for Medicare beneficiaries with lymphedema by ensuring that Medicare covers physician-prescribed compression therapy items under a new Durable Medical Equipment category. These items include multi-layer compression bandaging systems, custom or standard fit compression garments, non- or low-elastic compression garments and wraps, and other compression items determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be effective in preventing or treating lymphedema.

Lymphedema is an incurable but treatable condition affecting between three and five million Americans. It is a chronic condition caused by injury, trauma, or congenital defects in the lymphatic system. If left untreated or inadequately treated, it can lead to complications including loss of function, disability, and in some cases, death.

The Lymphedema Treatment Act has broad, bipartisan support in Congress. The bill is also supported by a wide range of advocacy groups, including the Lymphedema Advocacy Group, American Medical Association, and the American Cancer Society.

“The Lymphedema Treatment Act will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have the necessary doctor prescribed medical supplies to manage this chronic and potentially debilitating condition. We are grateful to Senator Cantwell, Senator Young, and all of the bill co-sponsors for their efforts to help the millions of Americans living with lymphedema maintain their health and quality of life," said Heather Ferguson, founder and executive director of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group.

Other senators cosponsoring Cantwell and Young’s legislation include James Lankford (R-OK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Angus King (I-ME), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Boozman (R-AR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).