Issues and Legislation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) helps to shape public policy on behalf of kidney disease patients. We work with Congress and federal agencies, as well as with state governments to further legislation and regulation that improve the care and quality of life of kidney disease patients.

  • Chronic Kidney Disease - NKF is calling on Congress to expand the Chronic Kidney Disease Control Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support early detection and treatment among high-risk populations.
  • Dialysis — The Health Care Reform movement in Congress provides an opportunity to expand the choices available to dialysis patients.
  • Transplantation and Organ Donation — To help close the gap that exists between the need for organs for transplantation and organ availability, NKF advocates for ways to increase the supply of organs for transplantation and to help recipients keep the transplant they have received.
  • Health Care Reform — Significant changes to health care access, financing, and the delivery of care will occur with the enactment of health reform legislation in March 2010. The new law will impact private insurance as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

Federal Legislation

Extending Medicare Coverage of Immunosuppressive Drugs

Every year, thousands of kidney patients receive a Medicare covered transplant. Medicare benefits, including coverage of immunosuppressive drugs, continue without a time limit for aged or disabled beneficiaries. Kidney recipients who are non-aged or non-disabled retain Medicare eligibility only for 36 months following their transplants. Many ESRD beneficiaries face the challenge of enrolling in private health insurance or otherwise paying for their immunosuppressive medications when coverage ends. Extending Medicare immunosuppressive coverage would improve outcomes and enable more kidney patients to consider transplantation. The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013 - H.R. 1428, introduced by Representatives Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Ron Kind (D-WI) and S. 323, introduced by Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Cochran (R-MS) - will help kidney transplant recipients obtain the life-saving immunosuppressive medications that are necessary to maintain the viability of their new kidney.

You can help make this law by taking action now.

Reference material

Maintain funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Chronic Kidney Disease Program

The Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helps reduce the burden of CKD through early detection and treatment programs aimed at high-risk populations. Since 2006, Congress has provided direct funding for a CKD program within CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation at approximately $2 million per year. CDC initiated an agreement with NKF to test a community-based screening program to identify people at high risk (individuals with diabetes, hypertension, or over age 50). More than 900 people in four states (California, Florida, Minnesota, and New York) were screened, and the evaluation of this data is under final review. These results will help assess the effectiveness of early detection and intervention.

To enable CDC to continue to identify people at high risk of CKD and track its progression, NKF is working with Members of the Appropriations Committee to request that Congress to maintain funding at $2.2 million for FY 2014.

Reference material