On February 10th, the Administration released its vision for funding the U.S. government, including proposals to extend Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients. This policy change could save the lives and transplants of thousands of kidney patients, while also saving taxpayers $73 million to $300 million over ten years, according to separate studies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. While Congress must pass legislation for this change to take place, it is promising that the Administration also referenced it in their budget blueprint.
The budget proposal also included provisions to increase Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) accountability measures and expand benefits under the National Living Donor Assistance Center’s (NLDAC). Collectively, these reforms will increase the number of organs available for transplant and have an overall positive impact on the kidney community.
While Congress begins its process of reviewing the Administration’s budget and assembling its own, the National Kidney Foundation will continue to fight for improved funding for kidney programs and research.
A new priority this year is a request for $10 million to support a kidney disease awareness initiative, as outlined in Administration’s July 2019 Advancing American Kidney Health (AAKI) initiative. This funding would help identify the 90% of kidney patients who do not know they have the disease. NKF also calls on Congress to fully fund the KidneyX program at $25 million. This important public-private partnership incentivizes innovators to fill unmet patient needs through a series of prize competitions focused on technology development and commercialization for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.
NKF will also continue to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to fight for increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative, the National Living Donor Assistance Center, and the National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK).
As the appropriations season gets underway, we will be calling on Kidney Advocates to contact their members of Congress in support of these funding requests. We hope you will support these efforts to that we can all improve awareness, treatment and provide a brighter future for kidney patients.