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Advocate, Inform, Motivate

Take Action: Ask Your Representative to Support New Legislation for CKD Research and Treatment

Capitol Hill The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2014 (H.R. 4814) is bi-partisan legislation that focuses on kidney disease research, access to treatment and fiscal challenges facing the Medicare program that funds treatment for more than 80 percent of U.S. dialysis patients.

Introduced by Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA) and John Lewis (D-GA), this legislation will:

  1. Address gaps in much-needed federally funded kidney disease research;
  2. Improve access to home dialysis, managed care, and coordinated care options and allow dialysis patients to retain their private health insurance longer;
  3. Create economic stability for the Medicare ESRD Program and for providers caring for individuals with kidney failure.

AKF has long advocated for many of the key provisions in this legislation—it’s a step in the right direction for people living with kidney disease!  We are working to educate lawmakers about this bill and to encourage them to sign on as co-sponsors. We urge you to send a personalized letter to your U.S. Representative today to ask him or her to co-sponsor this important bill (H.R. 4814) to demonstrate support for the millions of Americans living with, or at risk for, kidney disease. Send your letter now!


Advocacy Victory in Louisiana!

Review our 2013 Policy PrioritiesWe recently worked in Louisiana to introduce legislation that will require health insurance companies to continue accepting premium payments directly from AKF on behalf of patients. The bill passed both houses unanimously, and Gov. Bobby Jindal signed it into law in June.

Our Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) helps low-income patients in all 50 states maintain health coverage by paying their premiums. In most cases, we make the premium payments directly to the insurance carriers. One carrier in Louisiana recently stopped accepting “third-party” payments from AKF and other organizations as the result of ambiguous guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Lawmakers in Louisiana agreed that third-party assistance from AKF is critical to dialysis patients in that state. With enactment of the law, we will be able to continue making premium payments directly to Louisiana insurance carriers for the 2,000 patients in that state who rely on our assistance. We continue to work on this issue at the federal level and are encouraging CMS to clarify its guidance relative to third-party payments.


The Affordable Care Act and You

Affordable Care ActPeople living with chronic kidney disease and kidney failure face particular health concerns and challenges. We are working to ensure that kidney patients have access to the same benefits and subsidies available to others under the Affordable Care Act, and we are tracking numerous policy issues relating to the implementation of the Act. Have you signed up for insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. Contact Nina DiPadova, Associate Director of Government Relations, at ndipadova@kidneyfund.org to share your story or provide feedback on your experiences with the new marketplaces.


Advocate Spotlight: Stephanie Shabanowitz

Stephanie ShabanowitzStephanie Shabanowitz from Oakdale, Conn., is passionate about educating others about pediatric kidney disease and discussing important policy issues with Congressional representatives. Stephanie advocates for the preservation of government programs that provide access to healthcare for dialysis patients, including Medicare and Medicaid. She meets regularly with her Congressional representative to increase awareness of kidney disease and advocate for policies that impact kidney patients. In addition, she used AKF’s online Action Center to email all 100 members of the U.S. Senate to ask them to co-sponsor legislation providing transplant recipients with lifetime coverage for immunosuppressive drugs. Learn more about Stephanie and the advocacy work she is doing in her community.


Upcoming Events

Washington Wizards Mascot at Kidney Action DayKidney Action Day is AKF’s free, fun-filled, family-friendly event with a serious purpose: helping people understand their risk for kidney disease and how to prevent it. We hold Kidney Action Days in cities where rates of kidney disease are above the national average.

In the past couple of months, we’ve held Kidney Action Days in Philadelphia, Memphis, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Augusta, Ga. Members of our Advocacy Network participated in every event. We encourage you to come out and support an upcoming Kidney Action Day in your area:

•    Chicago: Wednesday, Aug. 27
•    Atlanta: Tuesday, Sept. 23
•    Houston: Sunday, Oct. 5

For more information on other AKF screening events throughout the country, visit our website.


Feedback

FeedbackDo you have a question about one of the topics discussed in this newsletter? Would you like more information about policy issues that are directly affecting you or a loved one?

We want to hear from you! Please contact Nina DiPadova at 800.638.8299 extension 7047 or ndipadova@kidneyfund.org with any questions or comments.


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