House Energy and Commerce Committee Held Hearing on Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage, a Key Legislative Priority of American Society of Nephrology

By Zachary Kribs is the ASN Government Affairs Specialist

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, January 8th, on the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019, advancing a long-standing legislative priority of the American Society of Nephrology.

The legislation, introduced in late December by Representative Ron Kind and Representative Michael Burgess, along with three other original sponsors, would allow Medicare to pay for immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients for the lifetime of the organ transplant. Medicare currently reimburses immunosuppressive drug coverage for only 36 months, leaving many individuals who cannot afford other coverage at risk of losing the transplanted kidney. The legislation is a top priority of ASN and has been the focus of several advocacy initiatives, including Kidney Community Advocacy Day convened by ASN in November 2019.

During the hearing, numerous members of Congress expressed their support for the legislation. Health Subcommittee Chair Representative Anna Eshoo, a co-sponsor of the legislation, described her commitment to passing the legislation, saying “this bill is going to move,” while also noting that the policy is “common sense” as well as her surprise upon becoming aware that so many individuals face this barrier.

Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee Representative Michael Burgess, MD, a long-time champion and cosponsor of the bill shared a similar sentiment, while also noting that due to the Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health and supporting efforts there is a newfound energy to enact this policy into law. Dr. Burgess said “There is momentum to make a difference in the lives of kidney patients, and H.R. 5534 is a critical component of this effort as it will improve patient adherence to immunosuppressive drugs and help to ensure that patients can maintain their transplant and hopefully avoid future kidney-related health care complications.”

The lead sponsors of the legislation are currently seeking additional co-sponsors of the legislation. The bill is expected to pass through regular order, including markups in both the Health Subcommittee and full Energy and Commerce committee. A companion Senate bill is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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Zachary Kribs is the ASN Government Affairs Specialist
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The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, January 8th, on the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019, advancing a long-standing legislative priority of the American Society of Nephrology.

The legislation, introduced in late December by Representative Ron Kind and Representative Michael Burgess, along with three other original sponsors, would allow Medicare to pay for immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients for the lifetime of the organ transplant. Medicare currently reimburses immunosuppressive drug coverage for only 36 months, leaving many individuals who cannot afford other coverage at risk of losing the transplanted kidney. The legislation is a top priority of ASN and has been the focus of several advocacy initiatives, including Kidney Community Advocacy Day convened by ASN in November 2019.

During the hearing, numerous members of Congress expressed their support for the legislation. Health Subcommittee Chair Representative Anna Eshoo, a co-sponsor of the legislation, described her commitment to passing the legislation, saying “this bill is going to move,” while also noting that the policy is “common sense” as well as her surprise upon becoming aware that so many individuals face this barrier.

Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee Representative Michael Burgess, MD, a long-time champion and cosponsor of the bill shared a similar sentiment, while also noting that due to the Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health and supporting efforts there is a newfound energy to enact this policy into law. Dr. Burgess said “There is momentum to make a difference in the lives of kidney patients, and H.R. 5534 is a critical component of this effort as it will improve patient adherence to immunosuppressive drugs and help to ensure that patients can maintain their transplant and hopefully avoid future kidney-related health care complications.”

The lead sponsors of the legislation are currently seeking additional co-sponsors of the legislation. The bill is expected to pass through regular order, including markups in both the Health Subcommittee and full Energy and Commerce committee. A companion Senate bill is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Date:
Wednesday, January 8, 2020