362) Advocacy Opportunity

May 6, 2009

From the Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) advocacy group, we all got a request to advocate for legislation to support the Kidney Transplant Patient's Act of 2009 (S 565 / HR 1458). This legislation will help transplant patients.
Currently the Medicare ESRD Program only covers immuno-suppressant drugs for 36 months following a transplant. With the average annual cost of $17,000 a year, patients must find a way to pay for their medications after the initial 36 months. When passed the legislation will allow Medicare to cover these costs for the life of the patient. As quoted from the DPC newsletter:

"RX individuals who receive an organ transplant must take immunosuppressant drugs to reduce the likelihood that their body will reject the transplanted organ. Currently the Medicare End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program pays the majority of dialysis and transplantation costs for eligible ESRD patients, but only covers immunosuppressant drugs for 36 months following a transplant. Many dialysis patients find this policy a barrier to seeking a kidney transplant. The DPC Board of Directors recently passed a new policy in support of Immunosuppressant Drug Coverage for the life of a kidney transplant.

Congress has introduced a bill to provide kidney transplant patients with life time immunosuppressant drug coverage: The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2009 (S 565 HR 1458). Extending the current benefit beyond 36 months would result in a net savings to Medicare, provide transplantation as an affordable option to more patients, and ensure that those individuals in whom Medicare has invested can continue to receive the necessary drugs to reduce their chance of rejection.

Please join DPC in supporting the extension of Medicare coverage for immunosuppressant medications. Contact your members of Congress and ask them to support the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2009!"

This is an opportunity to have a say and support this important legislation. Please consider this opportunity to let your legislators know what YOU think. Of course, I am supporting the legislation because it impacts me personally.

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