Podcast Covers Kidney Research Funding, Visas, and Equality Act

In a recent podcast, ASN Executive Vice President Tod Ibrahim and ASN Regulatory and Quality Officer David White offer insights about federal funding for kidney research, visas for international medical graduates, and the Equality Act.

As indicated by President Biden’s budget for fiscal year 2022, health care is an important part of the administration’s agenda, which is likely to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is well-established and working properly.  The new budget includes another appropriation for the Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX), a public-private partnership between ASN and the US Department of Health and Human Services to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. 

The discussion also highlights bipartisan legislation focused on health care workforce resilience, specifically, a bill introduced by US Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), along with Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

The legislation would recapture 25,000 unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors that Congress had previously authorized. It would allocate those visas to doctors, nurses and their families; exempt the visas from country caps; and require employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive the visas will not displace an American worker.

“One-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born,” said Senator Durbin. “Over the course of this pandemic, immigrant nurses and doctors have played a vital role in our health care system and their contributions have undoubtedly saved countless lives. It is unacceptable that thousands of doctors currently working in the U.S. on temporary visas are stuck in the green card backlog, putting their futures in jeopardy and limiting their ability to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. This bipartisan bill strengthens our health care workforce and I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining me in introducing this bill.”

The conversation also features insights about the Equality Act, a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit, and jury service.

“I applaud Congressman David Cicilline and the entire Congressional Equality Caucus for introducing the Equality Act in the House of Representatives yesterday, and I urge Congress to swiftly pass this historic legislation,” President Biden said in February. “Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all.”

To listen to the podcast, visit bit.ly/3BIIIib .