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Support Lifetime Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients!

The best treatment for kidney failure is often a kidney transplant, and the demand for kidney transplants far exceeds the number of available donor organs.  For those who are fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant, continued access to immunosuppressive drug coverage is a leading factor in the success of the transplant.

Immunosuppressive drugs prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted kidney, and need to be taken for the duration of a transplant patient’s life.  Under current law, the Medicare End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program only covers these anti-rejection drugs for 36 months for non-disabled kidney transplant recipients under the age of 65.  After 36 months, their Medicare coverage ends, and these patients are forced to find new ways to pay for these costly medications on their own.  If they cannot pay for the medications and their transplants fail, Medicare will again cover lifelong dialysis or a new transplant, each at a much higher annual cost to Medicare than the cost of anti-rejection drug coverage. 

The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013 (H.R. 1428 / S. 323) would extend lifetime Medicare coverage of anti-rejection medications to all kidney transplant recipients.  Take action on this important issue by sending personalized messages to your representatives in Congress urging them to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation!

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Message

Cosponsor the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013!

Dear [Decision Maker],

As your constituent and as someone who has been impacted personally by kidney disease, I urge you to cosponsor the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013 (H.R. 1428/S. 323). This bipartisan legislation would provide lifetime Medicare coverage of anti-rejection medications for all kidney transplant recipients.

Individuals with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure) automatically qualify for Medicare regardless of age or disability, and require either dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. As of 2010 there were nearly 600,000 people with kidney failure in the United States. About 415,000 were on dialysis, and nearly 180,000 were living with kidney transplants.

The best treatment for kidney failure is often a kidney transplant, and the demand for kidney transplants far exceeds the number of available donor organs. For those who are fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant, continued access to immunosuppressive drug coverage is a leading factor in the success of the transplant.

Immunosuppressive drugs prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted kidney, and need to be taken for the duration of a transplant patient's life. Under current law, the Medicare End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program only covers these anti-rejection drugs for 36 months for non-disabled kidney transplant recipients under the age of 65. After 36 months, their Medicare coverage ends, and these patients are forced to find new ways to pay for these costly medications on their own. If they cannot pay for the medications and their transplants fail, Medicare will again cover lifelong dialysis or a new transplant, each at a much higher annual cost to Medicare than the cost of anti-rejection drug coverage.

Extending lifetime Medicare coverage of anti-rejection medications to all kidney transplant recipients would be beneficial to both patients and Medicare. If transplant patients cannot afford their medications and their transplants fail, Medicare will cover dialysis at a cost of about $86,000 per year, per patient. Medicare will also cover the cost of a new transplant, which in the first year is approximately $98,000. In contrast, the cost to Medicare of immunosuppressive drugs for a patient with a functioning kidney transplant is just over $12,000 per year.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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