Medicare Bill to Help Organ Transplant Recipients

New York, NY (December 18, 2000) - The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced today that Congress has extended Medicare coverage of critical immunosuppressive medications for certain organ transplant recipients. The provision is included as part of HR 4577, a broad spending and Medicare bill, which was approved by Congress on December 15 and is expected to be signed by President Clinton.

Transplant recipients whose surgery was covered by Medicare and who are eligible for Medicare based on age or disability will now have coverage of their "antirejection" medications for the life of their transplant. The drug coverage will affect those who meet these criteria and whose initial Medicare immunosuppressive coverage has not yet expired on the bill's date of enactment, that is, those who are within 44 months of transplant. It will also cover all future transplant recipients who meet the Medicare age or disability requirements.

"This has been a priority of both mine and the National Kidney Foundation for the last two years," says Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL), who introduced the immunosuppressive provision in the Medicare bill. "Quite simply, the extension would not have occurred without the NKF, who orchestrated the support of key congressional committees."

"Congress agreed with NKF that it just doesn't make sense for the government to pay for the transplant for Medicare beneficiaries, only to have the success of the transplant put at risk because of an inability to pay for the necessary medications," says John Davis, NKF CEO.

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The National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary nonprofit health organization, is dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of kidneys for transplantation. For more information on kidney disease call the foundation at (800)622-9010.