By Troy Zimmerman, National Kidney Foundation’s Vice President of Government Relations
As we have reported, the Senate has conducted a series of votes on the American Care Act (ACA) reform during the closing days of July but failed to gain majority support. The final vote occurred on the Health Care Freedom Act (referred to as the “skinny repeal”) that would have set up discussions with a joint House / Senate conference committee. The Health Care Freedom Act proposed several key changes to the ACA including repeal of the individual mandate to obtain insurance and the employer mandate. It also would have allowed states to roll back certain insurance regulations.
Throughout the House and Senate debate, NKF has expressed the importance of providing access to affordable care with appropriate benefits and coverage for individuals with kidney disease.
While we cannot say what lies ahead, for the time being it is likely Congress will set aside efforts to make significant changes to the law. However, much still remains to be done to improve the ACA and we are hopeful that Congress will work in a bipartisan manner to propose changes that will help all those affected by chronic conditions better access the care they need and deserve.
We are optimistic Congress will soon consider other health care legislation, including priorities of NKF such as the Living Donor Protection Act (HR 1270) and our proposed early CKD detection and management bill. Our staff will continue its efforts with our supporters in Congress and keep you apprised regarding opportunities to reach out to your congressional delegation.
My thoughts are that people like myself who make up the general public should be informed on just what exactly makes up the matrix of this health care act. I am often asked for my opinion regarding the proposed health care act but can’t comment because I don’t know even the highlights of this piece of legislation. I realize this is a work in progress but at some point I would like to see a definition outline of just what congress is voting on.
Where are with the Living Donor bill. It has not gotten sponsorship in the Senate right?