Nation’s Kidney Community Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Insurance Access for Individuals Living with Kidney Failure
August 1, 2022
WASHINGTON – Kidney Care Partners (KCP) – the nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan coalition of more than 30 organizations representing patients, professional care providers, and a wide range of kidney care stakeholders – applauded the introduction of the bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 8594, to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to clarify and preserve the breadth of the protections under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act. Sponsored by Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Buddy Carter (R- GA) and Danny Davis (D-IL), the legislation, if passed, would restore protections intended by Congress in the original enactment of the language at issue in the Medicare Secondary Payor Act and ensure individuals living with end stage renal disease (ESRD) – or kidney failure– cannot be discriminated against based on their need for dialysis.
“KCP thanks Representatives Clarke, Arrington, Carter and Davis for their leadership on this bill and for acting quickly to address the troubling efforts of private insurers to force individuals requiring dialysis care out of their preferred plan,” said Michele Kimball, executive director of KCP. “This legislation will prevent harm to these vulnerable individuals by eliminating any distinction among patients by insurers based on their need for dialysis care, which we believe was always the true intent of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act. It will also help to reinforce the Medicare Part A Trust Fund, which is increasingly underfunded.”
“As someone who has personally and painfully experienced the limitations of Medicare when needing a new wheelchair, I applaud this effort to protect a patient’s right to choose the best coverage option for themselves,” said Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) Board of Directors President Andrew Conkling. “Preserving an individual’s right to continue their private insurance plan allows for continuity of care and creates an incentive for insurers to cover detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease. Detection and care for early kidney disease can help delay the need for dialysis- ultimately creating cost savings and improving outcomes. Passage of H.R. 8594 would be a win not just for those already living on dialysis but for any American living with or at risk of kidney disease.”
Earlier this year, KCP expressed concern that health plans discriminated against those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) by limiting coverage of life-sustaining treatment, ultimately driving patients to drop their private group coverage, many of which included additional financial protections for both them and their families, in favor of Medicare. This issue was recently considered by the Supreme Court in the Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Benefit Health Plan v. DaVita case.
“Fundamentally, this is a coverage and cost issue – one that directly impacts patients’ ability to afford needed kidney care while further reducing equity among patients in accessing it. Passage of H.R. 8594 will once and for all prevent insurers from pushing dialysis patients prematurely from private insurance into the Medicare program. Its’ passage would be a win for patients and the American taxpayer, and KCP urges Congress to act swiftly on this important measure,” Kimball concluded.