Friday, May 08, 2009

Extend immunosuppressive drug coverage for kidney transplant patients!

Help people with kidney transplants! Ask your Representative to co-sponsor HR 1458, legislation that would extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs beyond the first 36 month after transplant. Since this alert was launched last week, 400 messages have been sent to Congress, and health care reform is building momentum, and we need you to act now by telling your Representative to act today.

This legislation is one of the key provisions in the NKF End the Wait! campaign. The bill will help transplant recipients maintain their kidney function, and will allow others to consider a transplant because they know the expensive drugs they need will be available without a time limitation.

Organ transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs for the life of the transplant to help prevent the body from rejecting the organ. Currently, Medicare pays for most kidney transplants but covers drugs for only 36 months post-transplant as part of the Medicare ESRD benefit. After that, kidney recipients must pay for immunosuppressive drugs through private insurance, public or pharmaceutical programs or pay out-of-pocket. (Medicare covers drugs without a time limit if the patient qualifies because of age or disability status.)

Immunosuppressive drugs are expensive, but the alternative is even more costly.

A kidney transplant recipient costs Medicare $17,000 annually. If the kidney transplant fails, the person returns to dialysis at which point, Medicare spends an average of $71,000 per year on a dialysis patient. And quality of life often suffers too.

Please take a moment to write your Representative today and ask him or her to co-sponsor HR 1458. Share your story, or the story of a loved one, about the experience with immunosuppressive drug coverage.

More info can be found at Kidney Foundation's End the Wait!


Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks, Fred! Here's more info about the bill.

Two weeks from tonight, I'll be recovering from surgery!!

10:11 PM  

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