The good news in my last post was that the House had passed the Immuno Drug Coverage bill extending Medicare coverage for kidney transplant recipients’ medications past 3 years. Next step was the Senate. I’m thrilled to report now that after nearly 20 years of advocacy by the transplant community, this bill is finally going to become law. The Senate has passed it, again with strong bipartisan support, and Trump is expected to sign it.
That means that kidney patients who qualify for Medicare only through the ESRD–kidney failure–category (and have no other coverage) will be able to afford the critical, very expensive, antirejection meds that recipients must take for the life of the kidney. Patients who stop taking their meds because they can’t afford the few thousand dollars a month cost usually lose that new kidney and end up back on dialysis. Many of them die.
Honor the Gift is the name of the most recent ambitious campaign to get this long-overdue legislation passed. Safeguarding the precious gift of life is the best way to honor that gift and save lives. This great news is a big win for kidney patients and advocates–not to mention decency and common sense (it even saves Medicare money).
My fellow National Kidney Foundation kidney advocates and I spread the word about the merits of the immuno drug bill and others when we met with members of Congress during NKF’s virtual kidney patient summit in September. One of the bill’s co-sponsors is my own congressman, Rep. David Price. (That’s him at the bottom of the photo from one such zoom meeting.)