February 27, 2020

Young, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Expand Coverage for Seniors’ Kidney Transplant Drugs

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today introduced legislation to provide seniors who received kidney transplants with extended Medicare Part B to help cover lifesaving medication. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) joined as cosponsors of the legislation.


“Receiving a new kidney isn’t the end of the road for transplant recipients. Patients require immunosuppressive drugs to support their new organ, otherwise they end up back in kidney failure and on dialysis. Unfortunately, Medicare coverage for these medications oftentimes runs out,” said Senator Young. “Our bill will ensure Hoosiers with kidney transplants have extended access to Medicare Part B to cover the costs of these drugs. I have long been focused on improving our organ transplant system, and this commonsense legislation will help save lives and cut down on costly dialysis expenses.”


Transplant recipients require immunosuppressive drugs to keep the body from rejecting a new organ. Current law only covers Medicare Part B kidney transplant recipients for 36 months after a transplant occurs, meaning patients who lack other coverage after 36 months would have to cover the costs out of pocket. Many people ration their medications or stop taking their drugs and end up back in kidney failure and on dialysis. The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act (S 3353) would do away with that time limit ensuring that individuals who received a kidney transplant paid for by Medicare do not have to worry about coverage for medications and protect their transplant.


James Myers, Kidney recipient and state advocate for the National Kidney Foundation (Crown Point, IN) said,“I am very pleased that Senator Young is introducing the Immunosuppressive Medication Bill in the Senate today. It is an important bill which would extend the 36 month coverage limit of Medicare Payments to the lifetime of a Kidney Transplant. This ensures healthier Kidney Transplant Patients and will help to increase the number of transplanted Kidney Patients. Thank you Senator Young for your leadership in supporting Kidney Patients everywhere.”


Curtis Warfield, Kidney recipient and state advocate for the National Kidney Foundation and the American Association of Kidney Patients (Indianapolis, IN) said,“I am very excited to hear that Senator Young is introducing an Immunosuppressant bill. This bill will bring much relief and make it affordable for life-saving medications for many transplant recipients. I am glad that Senator Young understands how struggling transplant recipients and their families would no longer worry about making a hard decision between to feed their family, pay a heating/light bill or purchase life-saving medications for themselves. Very proud of Senator Young’s support and his continuing his leadership in the fight against kidney disease.”


Full bill text for S. 3353 can be found here.