Many people are under the impression there is no bipartisan cooperation right now in Congress – and especially on health care issues. However, that is not necessarily the case. Towards the end of May, and after encouragement from Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) and other kidney groups, over 150 bipartisan Members of Congress signed onto a letter to Secretary Price urging him to protect non-profit charities’ ability to provide charitable assistance to kidney and other chronic disease patients.
For decades, nonprofit organizations have provided premium and cost sharing assistance for patients who struggle to afford staggering health care costs. This safety net has helped thousands of families each year avoid sacrificing their way of life and life savings because of medical circumstance. Currently, more than 678,000 Americans are living with kidney failure, which is known as End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Of these, approximately 477,000 require life-sustaining dialysis treatments three times a week to replace the kidney function they have lost. These treatments are time consuming and very costly so being able to use premium assistance through the American Kidney Fund is literally life changing.
We here at DPC are glad so many House of Representatives Members did as well and signed on to the charitable assistance letter. But this does not mean our work to protect kidney disease patients is over. Kidney disease patients, like all other patients, should be able to elect coverage that best meets their needs, whether that be public or private coverage, and through access to charitable assistance they are able to do just that. We look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner with Congress to ensure this very vulnerable patient population continues to have access to affordable, quality health care.