On Sept. 22, Representatives Michael C. Burgess, MD, R-Texas, and Ron Kind, D-Wisc., introduced the Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act. This legislation would allow individuals who are eligible for immunosuppressive drugs under Medicare Part B to continue to receive their treatment past the current 36-month cutoff.

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries who are 65 or older or who are receiving Social Security Disability Income are covered under Part B for their immunosuppressive drugs without any time limitation. Under the proposed bill, kidney recipients who are younger than 65 and not receiving Social Security Disability Income would also have indefinite coverage if they do not have insurance that includes immunosuppressive drug coverage. The extension applies only to immunosuppressive medications.

Several organizations have expressed support for the bill, including the American Medical Association, National Kidney Foundation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Society of Transplantation, American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, American Association of Kidney Patients, Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, Dialysis Patient Citizens, and Renal Physicians Association.

“Helping transplant recipients obtain the daily medications necessary to reduce the likelihood of organ rejection is not only what’s best for the patient long-term, it’s what best for Medicare long-term,” said National Kidney Foundation CEO Kevin Longino. “Kidney transplantation significantly reduces Medicare expenditures compared to the costs associated with caring for a patient on dialysis.”