Kidney Patients and Physicians Join Together to Rally Congressional Support for Kidney Disease Awareness
Washington, DC—On Thursday, May 1, 2014 the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) joined 13 other leading kidney organizations to push for essential change in kidney care. Participants in Kidney Community Advocacy Day, representing patients and professionals met with government leaders to discuss two issues that will improve the treatment and quality of life for millions of Americans: increasing federal investment in kidney research, and extending lifetime immunosuppressive drug coverage for kidney transplant recipients.
Funding Innovation, Improving Lives
Research and innovation are critical to advancing new therapies for the more than 20 million Americans with kidney disease. Kidney Community Advocacy Day participants campaigned for an additional $150 million per year for 10 years in additional kidney research funding to spur innovation. This funding is needed to help develop new therapies that enhance patients’ lives and ultimately cure this public health burden.
Immunosuppressive Coverage—A Common Sense Choice
Kidney transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs to maintain the health of their transplants. Currently, Medicare only covers the cost of these drugs for 36 months. Those who cannot afford to pay for the immunosuppressive drugs (approximately $4,000 per year) end up back on dialysis (the government spends approximately $90,000 a year for care for patients on dialysis). Extending Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs over a recipient’s lifetime is the common sense solution, improving quality of life for people with kidney disease and saving taxpayer dollars.
Leaders who participated in Kidney Community Advocacy Day know what’s at stake:
- More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease, the 8th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- 200,000 of these Americans are children and adolescents, 15,000 of whom are reliant on dialysis or a kidney transplant remain alive.
- More than 600,000 Americans have kidney failure, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
- More than 185,000 Americans live with a kidney transplant and more than 100,000 more are on the wait list.
- Nearly all patients with kidney failure are Medicare beneficiaries regardless of age, income, or diability.
- ESRD patients account for nearly 7% of Medicare costs but less than 1% of Medicare patients – a total of nearly $35 billion anually.
- Nearly 28% of Medicare expenditures involve patients diagnosed with kidney disease.
AAKP is pleased to give voice to the more than 20 million Americans with kidney disease through its participation in Kidney Community Advocacy Day.
AAKP was founded in 1969 by a group of six kidney patients. Celebrating its 45thAnniversary, AAKP has evolved to be the primary source of advocacy, education, and interaction for chronic kidney disease patients, ESRD patients and kidney transplant recipients, as well as the families and professionals who support them in improving their health and their lives.
AAKP is the voluntary, patient organization, which for more than 40 years, has been dedicated to improving the quality of life of kidney patients through education, advocacy and the fostering of patient communities. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances, and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.