National Kidney Foundation Applauds House Passage of Landmark Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage Bill

Quotes for attribution to National Kidney Foundation, December 8, 2020

“The National Kidney Foundation applauds the passage of the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act in the U.S House of Representatives earlier today.

“With transplant patients suffering disproportionately from the adverse effects of COVID-19, this legislation is more critical now than ever. Patients must be reassured that they will have access to their live-saving immunosuppressive drugs and that they will not need to worry about skipping doses because they can’t afford the costs. 

“We sincerely thank Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Michael Burgess (R-TX) for working so closely with us to put patients first and for their efforts to extend the 36-month window of drug coverage provided by Medicare. We look forward to working with them to ensure the swift passage of the broader comprehensive bill.

“We also are very appreciative of the support and assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the immunosuppressive extension and applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for prioritizing this important legislation.

“We sincerely thank the NKF grass roots advocates from across the country who have written thousands of letters and attended hundreds of meetings with their Members of Congress urging that this life-saving legislation be enacted. These efforts helped generate 111 additional House cosponsors for the immunosuppressive legislation.

 “This critical legislation will not only save lives, but multiple estimates from the Congressional Budget Office expect it to save taxpayers millions of dollars. We look forward to passage in the Senate and the prompt enactment of this lifesaving legislation.”

For a patient’s perspective on how a lack of Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs affects a family see Bobbie’s story

 

About Kidney Disease

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.

Approximately 750,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 500,000 of these patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years. Living organ donation not only saves lives, it saves moneyEach year, Medicare spends approximately $89,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $35,000, for a transplant patient.  

 

About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources:

THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll-free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation. www.kidney.org/livingdonation.

 

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit www.kidney.org