Advocacy | Dialysis | Kidney disease | Transplant

Voices for Kidney Health Advocates Return to Capitol Hill

March 09, 2023, 9:56am EST

Excited Voices for Kidney Health Advocates in front of capitol hill.

For the first time in four years, patients and NKF staff from across the country kicked off National Kidney Month and the 10th annual Kidney Patient Summit by meeting with their lawmakers in Washington, DC, in person. Advocates used this unique opportunity to share our kidney agenda with Congress directly and stress the importance of supporting the kidney community through policy, with hundreds of Voices for Kidney Health advocates taking part virtually by sending messages to their lawmakers in support of Summit participants’ efforts.

Lobbying for increased federal investment

Dialysis patients, transplant recipients, kidney donors, kidney health professionals, and others lobbied their lawmakers to continue:

“The Kidney Patient Summit is our opportunity to really demonstrate to lawmakers why new legislation that improves the lives of those with kidney disease is so necessary,” said Kevin Longino, chief executive officer of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “With millions of adults in the U.S. living with kidney disease and another 80 million Americans at risk for developing it, we continue to fight for laws that directly address this public health crisis.”

Ask Congress to support kidney policy priorities.

Receiving support from lawmakers

Throughout the summit’s day of meetings on Capitol Hill, advocates heard from offices in both the House and Senate and from a bipartisan chorus of lawmakers that they supported our efforts to:

  • Protect living donors and promote living donation
  • Boost funding for programs that will help prevent kidney disease
  • Expand access to treatment options for patients nationwide

As we formally introduce bills in this new Congress, we look forward to working with them to advance our agenda and pass legislation that will benefit the kidney community.

Celebrating advocates and lawmakers 

NKF also honored two lawmakers and a kidney advocate who embody the spirit and promise of our Kidney Patient Summit at its annual congressional reception

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) has been a leader on a number of legislative initiatives, including increased support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative and the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease (NIDDK), as well as our efforts to help more patients dialyze at home if they want to.

Our second congressional honoree, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), has worked closely with NKF on a forthcoming bill that will promote greater transparency, accountability, and equity in our country’s transplant system. Because of her leadership, more kidney patients will get the transplant they so urgently need.

Patient advocate Bobbie Reed has participated in multiple summits and advocates on behalf of her son, who she has helped throughout his kidney journey. Bobbie is also a mentor and leader for other kidney advocates, helping them to find their voice and make it heard. Having helped to pass Living Donor Protection Act legislation in her home state of Pennsylvania, she joins a proud tradition of Richard Salick advocacy awardees. Read Bobbie’s story.

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