NKF Applauds Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage Legislation Introduced in the U.S. Senate

Quotes for attribution to National Kidney Foundation
February 27, 2020
“The National Kidney Foundation applauds Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) for introducing legislation today in the U.S. Senate to extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients. This legislation (S. 3353) represents a significant change that will greatly help save patients’ lives and taxpayer money.“
“When a patient receives a kidney transplant, the body knows that the new kidney is foreign; the body will attack the new kidney and try to damage or destroy it. Taking life-saving immunosuppressive drugs suppresses the body's ability to do this and helps prevent organ rejection. Skipping even one dose will increase the chance of organ failure.”
“On behalf of 37 million Americans affected by kidney disease, we are grateful to Senators Cassidy and Durbin and Congressmen Kind and Burgess, who introduced similar legislation in the House late last year, for the  strong bi-partisan effort to extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs and solve a problem that is years overdue.”   
“The National Kidney Foundation looks forward to working closely with our champions in Congress, and our grassroots advocates nationwide, to help ensure the legislation’s swift passage.”
For a patient 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 90% aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults is at risk for CKD.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a family history of kidney failure, and being age 60 or older. People of African American, Hispanic, Native-American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are about 3 times more likely than Whites to develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD or kidney failure). Compared to non-Hispanics, Hispanics are almost 1.3 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of kidney failure.
More than 726,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), 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 money. Each 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 (855.653.2273), 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.
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.