The bill that would extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressives kidney transplant recipients beyond the current 36 months failed to be included in the Affordable Care Act
This was my original report when the bill extending Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients beyond the current 36 months post transplant failed to be included in the Affordable Care Act even when the bill was in the final documentation that left the House Of Representatives on the way to the Unites States Senate.
TRIO has worked hard to forward the goal of extending Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients beyond the current 36 months post transplant. It was hoped that this would be part of any health care reform legislation that was passed. It was not, however, part of the health care reform legislation that was passed. Although this legislation was included in the health bill approved by the House of Representatives, the bill and this important legislation was not contained in the Senate bill in December nor in the final legislation signed by the President in March of 2010.
However, the original immunosuppressive bills (S. 565, H.R. 1458) remain active and I would ask you to please help by asking your Representatives and Senators to become cosponsors if they are not yet cosponsors. Please contact your Senators and Representative to urge them to cosponsor the Senate bill- S. 565 and The House Of Representatives bill- H.R. 1458, respectively.
Senate Amdt. 3102 to H.R. 3590- 2010 failed to be included in the bill signed by President Obama even though it was included in the original House bill.
Organ transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive medications for the life of the transplant to help prevent the body from rejecting the organ. HR 1458 would extend immunosuppressive drug coverage for Medicare-eligible kidney transplant recipients for the life of the transplant.They would not necessarily have access to other parts of Medicare, but this would ensure that they could retain Part B access to these expensive medications. Currently, Medicare pays for most kidney transplants but covers medications for only 36 months post-transplant as part of the Medicare ESRD benefit.
Many kidney recipients lose access to Immunosuppressive medications. In a study of 1,000 kidney transplant recipients, graft loss more than doubled when Medicare coverage for anti-rejection drugs ended.This is associated with a significant cost to Medicare and the taxpayers because patients who lose transplanted kidneys must return to dialysis or seek another transplant. Furthermore, once a transplanted kidney no longer works, the patient’s risk for death is nine times as large!
In a survey by the United Network for Organ Sharing and the American Society of Transplantation, 70% of transplant centers report that patients have extreme or very serious problems paying for their medications, and 68% of kidney transplant deaths or graft failures are possibly the result of lack of access to anti-rejection medications.
According to a recent report from the United States Renal Data System, Medicare spends more than $77,000 per year indefinitely dialyzing patients with kidney failure. However, it spends $106,000 the first year after transplant and an average of $17,000 or less per year thereafter, including the cost of Immunosuppressive medications. It thus makes financial sense for Medicare to remove the 36 month coverage limitation for Immunosuppressive medications.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-ill.) (along with other members of the U.S. Senate) supports extending coverage for Immunosuppressive medications for kidney transplant recipients.
The two most recent bills are
H.R.1458- Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act
S. 565- Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act