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AST on Capitol Hill to Promote Transplant Drug Extension Provision With Senate as Part of Health Care Reform
Date:10/8/2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- As Congress wraps up work on health care reform, members of the American Society of Transplantation's (AST) Public Policy Committee arrived on Capitol Hill today to discuss the importance of supporting a health care provision that would ensure kidney transplant recipients continue to receive Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs. The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2009, in the health care reform bill, is currently on the floor of the U.S. Senate and has been included in the House health care reform bill. Extending immunosuppressive coverage under Medicare will improve the long term health of kidney recipients and is cost-effective to taxpayers.

While on Capitol Hill, AST Public Policy members will meet with congressional representatives of the Senate Appropriations Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, House Science Committee, and House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Families and Community.

Medicare and Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage

The Medicare Program pays for kidney transplantation, an initial investment of more than $100,000. By providing Medicare coverage for a patient's immunosuppressant drugs, the Medicare transplant investment is protected and preserved. Most individuals with end stage renal disease (ESRD) are eligible for Medicare regardless of age or other disability. Under current law kidney transplant recipients, if not aged or disabled, lose their Medicare immunosuppressive drug coverage 36 months post-transplant. Without such drugs, a transplanted kidney may fail and Medicare is then faced with re-transplantation or a return to costly dialysis. By contrast, there is no Medicare time or cost limit for dialysis patients. Medicare spends approximately $70,000 per dialysis beneficiary every year.

About the AST Public Policy Committee
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SOURCE American Society of Transplantation
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