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House Passes Smith Bill to Improve Medicare Access

Press Release

Date: Dec. 9, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Jason Smith's legislation, H.R. 5534, the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Act. This legislation ensures thousands of kidney transplant recipients continue to have access to the drugs they need to remain healthy and saves the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

Specifically, this legislation would extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients who have no other coverage. These medications are essential to ensuring kidney transplant recipients do not go through organ rejection and a return to dialysis treatment, which is painful, time-consuming, and far more expensive for the Medicare program.

Smith said, "We should not allow such unnecessary waste and suffering to occur. Ensuring transplants are successful is more cost-effective and extending Medicare coverage of these drugs ensures transplant patients do not lose their transplanted kidney." He continued, "These Americans should not have to worry about how they will afford the cost of the medications that allow them to remain healthy and live a completely normal life."

Kevin Longino, CEO, National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient said, "After many years of tireless advocacy on behalf of kidney patients, NKF is proud that the US House of Representatives has extended coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for the life of a kidney transplant. This bill will ensure that kidney patients do not need to choose between rent, food, and keeping their kidney, and will help ensure increased availability of organs for others in need of a transplant. This is a great day for the kidney community, and we are thankful to our Congressional champions for their support and prioritization of this critical legislation,"

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5534 as part of H.R. 2477, the BENES Act. It now heads to the United States Senate for further consideration.


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