Action Center

Reintroduce the Comprehensive ImmunoSuppressive Drug Coverage

Ask your Representative to re-introduce and sponsor the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act. This bill will serve as a safety net by assisting kidney transplant recipients obtain the life-saving immunosuppressive medications that are necessary to maintain the viability of their new transplant.

Individuals with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), who require dialysis or a transplant to survive, are eligible for Medicare regardless of age or other disability. If these ESRD patients remain on dialysis, there is no time limit on their Medicare eligibility. However, despite quality of life benefits and the cost-effectiveness associated with transplantation compared to kidney dialysis, recipients who are not aged or disabled retain Medicare eligibility only for 36 months following their transplant. As a result, they often face the challenge of finding affordable coverage that allows them to obtain medications required to maintain their new kidney. If the transplanted kidney fails, they must return to dialysis and wait again in the hopes of receiving another transplant. Both of these options are more costly and more detrimental to patient health than maintaining the new kidney.

The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act would extend Medicare for immunosuppressive medications indefinitely, ensuring patients have access to these lifesaving medications. Only immunosuppressive coverage would be extended and all other Medicare coverage would end 36 months post-transplant, as it does now. The legislation also requires group health plans to maintain coverage of immunosuppressive drugs if they presently include this benefit. By supporting lifetime immunosuppressive coverage, Congress will help improve long-term transplant outcomes, reduce the number of kidney patients who require another transplant, and enable more patients to choose transplantation.

Please contact your Representatives and urge them to cosponsor the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act to help transplant recipients keep access the medications they need to maintain their new kidney.

"Extending Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients is a critical step to ensuring a patient's best chance of success post-transplant." – Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation

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