By Troy Zimmerman, Vice President of Government Relations
On Tuesday, September 19th, I represented the National Kidney Foundation as one of 22 organizations which participated in a Capitol Hill Kidney Community Advocacy Day hosted by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). I was paired with representatives from the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology and American Nephrology Nurses Association as we helped present the unified voice of the kidney community. We discussed two policy requests in our meetings: support for a $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Fiscal Year 2018 and cosponsor the Living Donor Protection Act.
An increase for NIH next year is very likely, with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees already recommending increased funding (including $2 billion by the Senate) in their respective bills for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 30 million Americans are affected by CKD and 96% don’t know they have it. Funding for NIH will support programs to develop new interventions and treatments for kidney disease including delaying or preventing end stage kidney failure (ESRD). We expect Congress to vote on this bill later this year.
The Living Donor Protection Act H.R. 1270, introduced in the House in February, currently has 43 co-sponsors. We asked Representatives who have not yet cosponsored H.R. 1270 to do so and thanked the 43 who have. However, because the Senate’s version has not yet been introduced, a primary focus of our meetings was to identify a Republican willing to carry this legislation in the Senate. We continue to be appreciative of Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) for her willingness to sponsor this legislation as the lead Democrat.
In the meantime, please help keep the momentum from this Advocacy Day moving by reach out to your elected officials for their support on these two priorities. If you have a Republican Senator, we especially need your help to enlist them as an original sponsor for the Living Donor Protection Act by sending them the letter linked below:
To Support the Living Donor Protection Act:
To Support Kidney Disease Appropriations: