Today the Immuno bill successfully passed a procedure hurdle in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up (aka reviewed and discussed) and reported out (issued their agreement to keep the bill moving to the full House) H.R. 5534, the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019. In a large markup consisting of 29 other bills, the Immuno bill was reported out unanimously, with both Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ranking Member Michael Burgess (R-TX) speaking favorably about the bill.
In his opening statement, Ranking Member Burgess said, “I am especially appreciative of the inclusion of H.R. 5534, the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act, a policy that I have championed for nearly a decade. While Medicare allows certain individuals with end-stage renal disease to enroll in Medicare and will cover a patient’s kidney transplant, Medicare stops covering the immunosuppressive drugs after 36 months. Without these drugs, kidney transplant patients’ immune systems will reject their donated kidney and send them right back to dialysis. A kidney transplant is an investment in a patient’s future health and quality of life. We should protect that investment by covering these anti-rejection drugs past 36 months for kidney transplant patients who do not have other health insurance coverage. My bill will do just that, and I look forward to advancing it through the full committee to the House floor."
After having been reported out favorably, the Immuno bill is now eligible for consideration by the entire House. It currently has 64 co-sponsors in the House, and 11 (plus one we expect to come next week) co-sponsors in the Senate. We continue to recruit Senate co-sponsors, and are advocating for the bill to be included in any fall package that may come together. We will keep you posted on its progress, and fingers crossed we get a vote this year.
Thank you all for your advocacy and focus on this bill over the long term. It is very rare for a bill to be written, introduced, and passed all in one year, so advocates like you who can be invested for the long-haul help ensure that important bills like this make it through the long, multi-year process and don’t get lost in the noise. Thank you all for your focus and dedication!