Congress Ignores Urgent Kidney Needs

July 10, 2020, 4:06pm EDT

We continue seeing reports that those who contract COVID-19 are more likely to develop kidney disease, and it’s clear that one legacy of this virus will be an expanded American kidney patient population.

That’s why we’re disappointed to see that the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies discussed and reported out a FY2021 Appropriations Bill this week that fails to reflect that new reality. The legislation includes funding for several kidney related priorities, including the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other agencies and departments.

Due to a budget agreement signed last year, there was very little room for large increases in this year’s appropriations bill. Even as the nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in spending of just under 1.3%, or $2.4 billion. While some of our kidney related programs saw a marginal increase, others were flat funded or not funded at all:

Program Name
FY 2020 Funding Level
FY 2021 Proposed Funding Level
$2.114 billion
$2.132 billion
$4.5 million
$9.5 million
CDC CKD Program
$2.5 million
Awaiting additional detail on funding for 2021
Kidney X Prize Competition
$5 million
$5 million
Kidney Risk Campaign (new program)
No Funding

We are disappointed, however, to see no funding dedicated to the Kidney Risk Campaign, a partnership between NKF and the Department of Health and Human Services designed to increase public awareness about kidney disease and promote access to early detection and treatment.

The modest increase in funding for NIDDK is also disappointing, especially considering the clear connection between kidney disease and COVID-19.  NKF will continue to call on Congress to prioritize funding for kidney disease.

It is important to note that this is just the first step in the appropriations process, as the Senate has not yet released their draft, and a lot of negotiation will take place before a final bill is passed and signed by the President. That’s why we urge all our advocates to reach out to your Senators and ask them to support funding for the Kidney Risk Campaign in the Senate’s FY2021 Appropriations bill from the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. In the meantime, NKF will continue to advocate for funding for kidney initiatives and access to quality kidney care for everyone.

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