AAKP Seeks Senate Support of Drug Coverage for Transplant Recipients

Tampa, Fla., May 1, 2008 – The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) is seeking support from Congress members for S. 2320, the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2007. The bill would extend Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs for the life of the kidney.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 98,000 people in the United States on the waiting list for an organ. More than 70,000 of those are waiting on a new kidney. In letters written to Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), AAKP President Roberta Wager, RN, MSN, and a two-time kidney transplant recipient, asks the Senators to cosponsor S. 2320 and its companion bill in the House of Representatives, HR 3282.

“Since Medicare covers the cost of the transplant for end stage renal disease (ESRD) beneficiaries, it only makes sense for Medicare to preserve its investment by providing lifetime coverage of the anti-rejection medication necessary to maintain the organ,” stated Wager. “Without maintaining the organ, Medicare is faced with the additional cost of re-transplantation or costly dialysis, which is much more costly per year per patient than immunosuppressive medications.”

There is no time limit for dialysis coverage by Medicare. However, Medicare covers immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplants for only 36 months. Kidney transplant recipients must find other sources of coverage to prevent organ rejection.

To read AAKP’s letters to Senators Cornyn and Hutchison, visit the AAKP Web site, www.aakp.org. AAKP encourages all kidney patients to contact their Congressional leaders in support of this legislation. You can also call (800) 749-AAKP for more information.

 

AAKP is the voluntary, patient organization, which for more than 35 years, has been dedicated to improving the lives of fellow kidney patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical, emotional and social impact of kidney disease. 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.