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Francis J. Serbaroli Francis J. Serbaroli

When the Medicare program came into existence in 1965, it covered many medical services and procedures for those over the age of 65. Treatments for chronic renal disease for those under the age of 65 were not covered. It wasn’t until 1972 that Congress enacted and President Richard Nixon signed into law the so-called Kidney Disease Entitlement (Public Law 92-603). This law extended Medicare coverage by classifying as “disabled” anyone under the age of 65, enrolled in the Social Security program, or the spouse or dependent child of the enrollee, “who is medically determined to have chronic renal disease and who requires hemodialysis or renal transplantation.” The law created a three-month waiting period before Medicare would pay for dialysis treatment, and limited payment for dialysis to 12 months after the month in which the patient had a kidney transplant, or dialysis was terminated.

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